HAU’s digital stage
English / 90 min.
3hd 2020’s “UNHUMANITY” festival week draws together what has already been months of events and remote projects as part of this year’s decentralized and dislocated festival structure, surfacing across the map. The “Vessels” evening of performances is one of two to happen in cooperation with HAU Hebbel am Ufer this year, exploring a system of human and non-human forces, built around an interconnected habitat of art, music, performance, digital culture, and its relationship to the more opaque idea of Nature Herself.
Happening on November 6, “Vessels” bridges technology, ecology and humanity through alternative ideas of bodies, using video game design and avatar-building aesthetics as artistic tools for generating political messages and imagining environments that center the experiences, concerns and perspectives of both artist and audience. Berlin and London-based interdisciplinary collective Keiken presents “The Metaverse Womb” a new media installation, a screening and a live motion-capture performance in collaboration with pregnant choreographer and dancer Naama Tomaszpolski Ityel who will be performing, both digitally and physically, wearing costume made HYDRA uniform offsprings created by phygital researcher, practitioner and fashion designer Agf HYDRA. Keiken perform live with the characters and real people of their film produced with CGI artist Ryan Vautier and dancer, model and activist Sakeema Crook. The presentation utilizes Off World Live’s software tools for interactive and gamified live-streaming and builds on a symbology of creating life and being a vessel that encompasses all gender and age.
London and Berlin-based Black trans artist, activist, game developer and mother Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley will share their recent work “We Are Here Because of Those That Are Not” – a film and interactive performance centered on remembering Black Trans ancestors who have been forgotten to time, as well as installing Black Trans existence in the present. Brathwaite-Shirley use electronic sound and animation to create a virtual archive for Black Trans bodies who were wrongly archived or never archived at all. By applying their own lived experience to imaginatively retelling Trans stories, the artist reclaims space for their forgotten forebears, while also admitting other people in to learn from them.
Keiken is a collective practice co-founded in 2015 by artists Tanya Cruz, Hana Omori and Isabel Ramos, and often working with multiple collaborators. They are based between London and Berlin and come from mixed diasporic backgrounds, including Mexican, Japanese, European, Jewish. Named after the Japanese word for ‘experience’, Keiken creates speculative worlds merging the physical and digital (‘phygital’) using moving-image, CGI, gaming software, installation, virtual/augmented reality, programming and gamified performance. Simulating new structures and ways of existing, they explore how societal introjection governs the way we feel, think and perceive.
Naama Tomaszpolski Ityel is a Berlin-based dancer, choreographer and a somatic educator. She graduated the Mate Asher Dance Academy and SEAD (Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance). Ityel has performed for choreographers, such as Emanuel Gat Dance Company, Colette Sadler, Anne-Mareike Hess and Shai Faran. Her latest choreography includes solo performance "Tracy", which has toured Europe and in Israel, winning third prize and the critic’s award at Belgrade’s Festival of Choreographic Miniatures. Recently, Ytel has been realizing relational workshops about visual experience, social themes, and space and body that incorporate theory, visual information and physical practice. Alongside her creative practice, she is a somatic educator supporting people in their self-transformative processes and in bringing social change. She teaches Feldenkrais Method, dance improvisation and yoga internationally.
AGF HYDRA (aka Anna Gloria Flores)’s practice revolves around the possibility of collective growth within a higher consciousness system in relation to physical reality. The London-based artist, designer and researcher, whose regenerative performance and collaborative practice operates within the spectrum of bodily experiences and nurturing technology. As founder of ‘phygital’ research program and label HYDRA, their artistic investigation creates training-based simulations of a multi-dimensional reality where we have collectively evolved into a higher state of consciousness. For “The Metaverse Womb”, Flores has developed a biodegradable, adaptable, waterproof, plant-based and chemically-treated latex uniform. It is used as an intervention between bodies and their surroundings, while its digital counterpart is animated by physical inputs and tracking devices, visually responding to the body as its sensitivity grows towards the experience.
Ryan Vautier creates animated worlds exploring the fractures between digital and physical. Focusing on the concept that we currently have access to two separate planes of existence, the London-based CGI artist and designer seeks to explore information of evolution from the digital realm, while simultaneously developing works inside the digital realm inspired by physical existence. Recent projects include a residency with Keiken at Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth, Digital Spar, Dazed Beauty Wellness Week, Sex Quiz results and Which Crystal are you with Rifke Sadleir, Dazed Beauty, Axel Arigato Socials, and video for Rhumba Club. Vautier has worked on projects for 1975, Ms Banks, Grimes, Ben Ditto and Lucy Hardcastle, and exhibited work at Future Late, Tate Modern, London in 2016.
Sakeema Crook works across the contemporary art, commercial and fashion industries. After graduating from London Contemporary Dance School, the international dance artist and model toured works by Shobana Jeyasingh, Fevered Sleep, Hubert Essakow, Alexander Whitley and Gandini Juggling, among others. More recently premiering Holly Blakey’s new work Cowpuncher My Ass at Southbank Center in collaboration with Vivienne Westwood, Crook is also one of the original dancers at the first LGBTQIA+ strip club, Harpies in Europe. She also choreographed her first music video during quarantine, while also shooting remotely for other projects from home. Crook also vogues, and is an active part of the London Ballroom scene, performing for London Queer Fashion Show, Christian Louboutin, Glitterbox Ibiza and Years and Years’ Pyramid Stage set at Glastonbury 2019. She also collaborated with Keiken and George Jasper Stone for Jerwood Arts Collaborate!
Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley is an artist working predominantly in animation, sound, performance and video games to communicate the experiences of being a Black Trans person. Their practice focuses on recording the lives of Black Trans people, intertwining lived experience with fiction to imaginatively retell Trans stories. Spurred on by a desire to record the History of Trans people both living and past, Brathwaite-Shirley’s work can often be seen as a Trans archive where Black Trans people are stored for the future. Throughout history, Black queer and Trans people have been erased from the archives. Because of this, it is necessary not only to archive our existence, but also the many creative narratives we have used and continue to use to share our experiences. Brahtwaite-Shirley has shown at Science Gallery, Barbican, Tate and Les Urbaines, as well as being part of the BBZ Alternative Graduate Show at the Copeland Gallery.
Curation and Organisation: Creamcake. In Collaboration with: HAU Hebbel am Ufer: Funded by: Senate Department for Culture and Europe, Berlin.