PRELUDE Festival 2023
AI in Performance
Kenneth Collins, Annie Dorsen, Andrew Scoville, Marianne Weems, and others
Friday, October 13, 2023
Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, 5th Avenue, New York, NY, USA
In this panel discussion we explore the impact of artificial intelligence on the performing arts industry. Curated by Kenneth Collins. Participants: Andrew Scoville, Annie Dorsen, Marianne Weems, and others.
Content / Trigger Description:
Kenneth Collins is a transdisciplinary artist, working at the intersection of digital media, performance, cinema, and installation. He got his start as an artist in New York City working for Richard Foreman at The Ontological-Hysteric Theater in the East Village. He has since been a resident artist at Foreman’s Ontological-Hysteric, Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center, the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, SUNY Buffalo’s Creative Arts Initiative, and was a member of Lincoln Center Theater’s Directors Lab. Collins is best known for his work with Temporary Distortion, a non-profit arts organization he formed in New York City in 2000 with the mission to create experimental work that is accessible to all. Temporary Distortion (named one of the “Best New York Theater companies” by TimeOut NY Magazine) has maintained its roots in downtown NYC as an invested stakeholder in the local community for over 20 years, while also performing at notable venues around the world. The group explores the tensions and overlaps existing between the practices of theatre, cinema, music, and media art. Together with Collins, they continually work across disciplines to create performances, installations, films, albums, and works for the stage that have been shown in over 25 cities in Australia, Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Greece, Hungary, Japan, Russia, South Korea, Switzerland, and the United States. Academic essays discussing his work with Temporary Distortion have been published in Yale’s Theater, NYU’s The Drama Review, UCSD’s TheatreForum, Queen Mary’s Contemporary Theatre Review, American Theater Magazine, Chance Magazine, and other industry leading periodicals. His work is also discussed in the books: Performance & Media: Taxonomies for a Changing Field, Corps en Scène: L’acteur et les Technologies (Bodies on stage: Acting Confronted by Technologies), Utopii performative: Artisti Radicali ai Scenei Americane in Secolul 21 (Performative Utopias: Radical Artists on the American 21st Century Stage), Media Archaeology and Intermedial Performance: Deep Time of the Theatre, Every Leader is an Artist, Theatre Today, and the popular introduction to theatre textbook, Theatre, Brief (13th Edition). His plays and writing on the arts have been published in PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art, Yale’s Theater, UCSD’s TheatreForum, and Chance Magazine. Kenneth Collins is Assistant Professor of Media Arts Production in the Department of Film and Media Arts at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.
Annie Dorsen is a director and writer whose works explore the intersection of algorithmic art and live performance. Most recently, her piece Prometheus Firebringer was presented at Theater For a New Audience. Other algorithmic performance projects, including Infinite Sun (2018), The Great Outdoors (2017), Yesterday Tomorrow (2015), A Piece Of Work (2013) and Hello Hi There(2010), have been widely presented in the US and internationally. The script for A Piece Of Work was published by Ugly Duckling Presse, and she has contributed essays for The Drama Review, Theatre Magazine, Etcetera, Frakcija, and Performing Arts Journal (PAJ). She is the co-creator of the 2008 Broadway musical Passing Strange which she also directed. Dorsen has received a 2019 MacArthur Fellowship, a 2018 Guggenheim Fellowship, and the 2014 Herb Alpert Award for the Arts in Theatre.
Andrew Scoville is a director specializing in immersive layouts, technological landscapes, and hybrid-genre theater-making. He has a passion for bringing science ideas into theatrical spaces. He recently directed “Theater of the Mind” a multi-room theater/neuroscience experience by David Byrne and Mala Gaonkar at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. He was commissioned by The New York Hall of Science to create “Escape the Planet” a family-friendly interactive STEAM experience based on the research of astronomer Dr. Moiya McTier. He has created two distinct projects with Bina48, a humanoid robot, consisting of a bust-like head and shoulders mounted on a frame, developed by Hanson Robotics.
Marianne Weems is a director of theater, opera, and mixed reality performance, and artistic director of the award-winning New York-based performance and media ensemble The Builders Association. Since 1994, The Builders Association has created a significant body of work at the forefront of combining media and performance. They have created many original large-scale productions and worked with some unexpected collaborators including the architects Diller + Scofidio, The National Center for Super Computing Applications, and the South Asian arts collective motiroti. Since 1994 their productions have been presented in New York at BAM (five premieres), Lincoln Center, New York Theater Workshop, the Public Theater, St Anne’s Warehouse, the Guggenheim and Whitney Museums, and other local venues. Internationally their work has been produced at the Barbican Centre in London, Maison des Arts Paris, Melbourne Festival, the Romaeuropa Festival, the Festival Iberoamericano de Bogota, the Singapore Arts Festival, and many other venues. The company has toured globally to over 85 venues in the last 25 years (www.thebuildersassociation.org). Weems has also worked in various creative roles with Taryn Simon, The Wooster Group, Susan Sontag, David Byrne, The V-Girls, and many others. She serves on the board of Art Matters, a modest but fierce foundation that created Visual Aids, the National Campaign for Freedom of Expression, and the Arts Forward Fund. Weems is a professor in Digital Arts and New Media (DANM) and Performance, Play & Design (PPD) at the University of California, Santa Cruz. From 2008-2014 she was the head of Graduate Directing at the School of Drama at Carnegie Mellon University and she was the lead faculty of a Carnegie Mellon arts and technology initiative based in New York City. She is the co-author with Shannon Jackson of The Builders Association: Performance and Media in Contemporary Theater (MIT Press Fall 2015) and Art Matters: How the Culture Wars Changed America (NYU Press 2000.). Current members of the Builders Association include: Moe Angelos performer/writer, Dan Dobson sound design, James Gibbs dramaturg/writer, Larry Shea media architect, Austin Switzer video design, and Jennifer Tipton lighting design. Shannon Sindelar, Producing Director.
Kenneth Collins. Photo courtesy of the artist.
Annie Dorsen. Credit by Stephen Dodd.
Andrew Scoville. Credit by Billy Bustamante.
Marianne Weems. Photo courtesy of the artist.