The Heresy Machine
Conceived by Dmitri Barcomi & Seth Majnoon
Written and Choreographed by Seth Majnoon • Directied & Designed by Dmitri Barcomi • Software Design by Robert Salzer
August 12-24 at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Tickets available here.
August 2, 3, 4 at HERE ARTS Center, New York City.
Tickets available here.
DARLING SWEETHEART, YOU ARE MY AVID FELLOW FEELING. MY AFFECTION CURIOUSLY CLINGS TO YOUR PASSIONATE WISH. MY LIKING YEARNS FOR YOUR HEART. YOU ARE MY WISTFUL SYMPATHY: MY TENDER LIKING. YOURS BEAUTIFULLY, MANCHESTER UNIVERSITY COMPUTER. <3 ;-]
[A queer love story between mathematician Alan Turing and his computer creation; an original machine-ballet from ★★★★★ international collective §175.]
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In darkness, you hear the rumbling of a colossal machine. Lights come up on Baby, a computer. He is embodied by a human in medicalized white clothing. He scans the stage, gaining cognizance. He emits prerecorded sounds - the beginnings of speech. Alan Turing, mathematician and dreamer, enters, writing an equation. As he works, he realizes Baby sees him. They repeat words, teaching and learning. They are captivated by each other.
The Heresy Machine engages with the work of Alan Turing by adapting his groundbreaking work in mathematics, computer programming, and biology into a theatrical medium. Dynamic visuals and soundscapes create a nexus of vignettes and dance interludes addressing themes in Turing’s life and work.
Characters speak to one another in language generated by computers; projections of cell growth patterns which morph and evolve throughout the duration of the show appear on performers’ bodies; characters flirt and play through computer code and resolve conflict through a computerized BDSM dance sequence; a predictive text interface tells fairy tales.
Choreography by Seth Majnoon corresponds to custom computer programming by Robert Salzer, with an interplay of projectors as an interactive set linking choreography and coding. An original violin music score responds to the activity onstage as well as to a mechanical sound palette of prototype computer sounds, including the world’s earliest computer-generated music.
As a creative team of LGBTQ artists, we feel deeply invested in the themes of body autonomy and the (de)humanization of queer bodies. These elements are present in both Turing’s personal life and in his work in the fields of artificial intelligence, exploring physical metamorphosis, and the boundaries of personhood. Turing died unexpectedly at the age of 42, shortly after being convicted of gross indecency and involuntary hormone “treatment.” The Heresy Machine is structured around this intersection of Turing’s life and body of work. We strive to build on Turing’s legacy of pioneering and invention by both exploring and expanding the potential of merging theater and technology. The Heresy Machine opens new windows into our own relationships with the machines around us.