The seminar considers the intersection of contemporary art/theatre and new media technologies, taking up immersive, multisite, and networked modes of transmedia storytelling, performances instrumentalizing a range of live and digital platforms and formats, including social media, augmented and virtual reality, haptic and digital technology, visual and audio mapping, human/AI interaction, algorithms, and bodily and sensory enhancements.


Upcoming Events

Sulayman Al Bassam, Playwright and Director
iMedea: Texts, Islands, Adaptations
Wednesday, November 20, 2019 - 5:30pm
Room 133, Barker Center

Award-winning Kuwaiti playwright and theatre director, Sulayman Al Bassam, discusses his recent production, iMedea. An outspoken Arab public intellectual, Medea lives in exile inside the fiercely secular Republic of Corinth, where the political order is strained by the arrival of thousands of seaborne migrants. Exploring the power of digital platforms to alter political space, iMedea creates a vividly imagined allegory, layering and traversing the political conflict in the twenty-first century.

Along with a discussion of the adaptations of ancient texts — the Lament for the Destruction of Ur and the Medea myth — to the modern Arab context, Al Bassam also takes up his experience of building an interdisciplinary center for new creation on Failaka, a depopulated, historically rich island in the Persian Gulf. Introducing what he calls "The Post-Petroleum Society," he reflects on models of cultural production intimately tied to local ecosystems, challenging the status quo of carbon dependency and resource extraction.

Sulayman Al Bassam (Playwright & Director) is widely recognized as one of the world's leading contemporary Arab theatre-makers. Al Bassam's work explores themes of identity, war, and individual sovereignty, often set against the backdrop of civilizational overlap and tension between the Arab-Islamic world and the West. In collaboration with multinational performers and creative teams, Al Bassam's productions are characterized by a radical approach to text and provocative combinations of content and form.

A defining element of Al Bassam's work is his adaptive transposition of classic texts into the landscape of present-day politics and identity. Between 2001 and 2011, the plays that form The Arab Shakespeare Trilogy (Bloomsbury, 2014) were developed by Al Bassam with his theatre company SABAB (www.sabab.org). More recently, his work has focused on the development of original texts exploring physical and imaginary borders, and a new cycle of plays inspired by ancient texts.

Written and directed in Arabic, English, French, and German, Al Bassam’s work has been presented by leading international venues (e.g., BAM, Tokyo International Festival, and the Sydney Festival). Recent work includes: UR, a contemporary adaptation of the Sumerian lamentation, co-produced by Rezidenztheater, the State Theatre of Bavaria, in Munich in 2018; Petrol Station, premiered at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC in March 2017; and the series of female monologues, In the Eruptive Mode (International tour 2015-17). Future projects include his contemporary version of The Medea, iMedea, premiering at the National Opera House of Kuwait in March 2020.

Funded by the Columbia Global Center in Paris

Dariusz Jemielniak, Kozminski University
Aleksandra Przegalińska, Kozminski University
Transmedia Art's Place in Collaborative Society
Thursday, February 20, 2020 - 5:30pm
Room 133, Barker Center

Abstract

Dariusz Jemielniak and Aleksandra Przegalinska wrote a book about Collaborative Society, and it is going out in March with MIT Press. The book examines the emergence of a new kind of social collaboration enabled by networked technologies. The book covers the “sharing economy,” and the hijacking of the term by corporations; different models of peer production, and motivations to participate; collaborative media production and consumption, the definitions of “amateur” and “professional,” and the power of memes; hactivism and social movements, including Anonymous and anti-ACTA protest; collaborative knowledge creation, including citizen science; collaborative self-tracking; and internet-mediated social relations, as seen in the use of Instagram, Snapchat, and Tinder.

Bios

Dariusz Jemielniak is Full Professor of Management at Kozminski University (Poland) where he heads MINDS (Management in Networked and Digital Societies) department. Associate faculty at Berkman-Klein Center for Internet and Society (Harvard) and Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees member. He is the author of Common Knowledge? (2014, Stanford University Press, winner of Dorothy Lee Award for Outstanding Scholarship in the Ecology of Culture in 2015, and the Chair of the Polish Academy of Sciences academia award in 2016). He has two upcoming books: Collaborative Society (2020, MIT Press, co-authored by A. Przegalinska) and Thick Big Data (2020, Oxford University Press). He had annual appointments at Cornell University (2004-2005), Harvard University (2007, 2011-2012, 2015-2016, 2019-2020), University of California Berkeley (2008), MIT (2015-2016, 2019-2020). His research focuses on open collaboration, peer production, and sharing economy.

Aleksandra Przegalińska received her Ph.D. in philosophy of artificial intelligence from the Department of Philosophy of Culture of the Institute of Philosophy of the University of Warsaw. Currently, she is an assistant professor at the Department of Management in Digital and Networked Societies at Kozminski University. Until recently, she conducted research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston. She graduated from The New School for Social Research in New York. She will soon start research on work automation in the Labour and Worklife Program at Harvard. She is interested in the development of new technologies, natural language processing, the progress of humanoid artificial intelligence, social robots and wearable technologies, recently published "Wearable Technologies in Organizations" (Palgrave).

More info:

http://www.jemielniak.org/

https://mit.academia.edu/AleksandraPrzegalinska

Agnieszka Jelewska, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań
Michał Krawczak, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań
Experimental Practices. Humanities and Arts in the Post-Technological Society
Thursday, March 12, 2020 - 5:00pm
Room 133, Barker Center

Agnieszka Jelewska, Ph.D. (Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland, Professor, Theater and Media Arts Department). Since 2011 she has been a director and co-founder of Humanities /Art /Technology Research Center at Adam Mickiewicz University (artandsciencestudies.com) and a member of the research and art collective Dead Baitz. In 2003, she was a Visiting Researcher at Kent University in Canterbury, UK; in 2005, she received a prestigious Polish scholarship from the Foundation for Polish Science. She has given lectures at a wide range of institutions, including Kent University in Canterbury, UK (2003), Folkwang Universität der Künste, DE (2015), Harvard University (2015), and Emerson College (2015). She was on a research stay at Folkwang Universität der Künste, Essen, DE (2015/2016). She is a curator and co-author of art and science projects, such as Transnature is Here (2013), Post-Apocalypsis (2015) and Anaesthesia (2016). She was awarded a Golden Medal for the sound design for the collective interactive installation Post-Apocalypsis (2015) at the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space, Czech Republic. Her research interests include the environmental humanities, posthumanist design, and experimental practice and collaborative work connecting art, science, and technology.

Michał Krawczak, Ph.D. (Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland, Associate Professor and Deputy Director, Theater and Media Arts Department). He is program director and co-founder of Humanities /Art /Technology Research Center at Adam Mickiewicz University (AMU; artandsciencestudies.com) and a member of the research and art collective Dead Baitz. He is also the head of the Stanislaw Lem Laboratory for Experimental Media (LEM) at AMU. He has given lectures and workshops at Folkwang Universität der Künste, DE (2015), Harvard University (2015), and Emerson College (2015). In 2015 he was also on a research stay in Zürcher Hochschule der Künste in Zurich, Switzerland. He is the author, designer, and curator of art and science projects, such as Transnature is Here (2013), Post-Apocalypsis (2015), Anaesthesia (2016) Arthropocene (2017). He was awarded a Golden Medal for the sound design for the collective interactive installation Post-Apocalypsis (2015) at the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space, Czech Republic. His research interests include media art, virtual reality dramaturgy and design, ecologies of sound, social robotics, artificial intelligence, and technological natures.

Learn more:
https://thetheatretimes.com/humanities-art-technology-research-center/
https://thetheatretimes.com/post-apocalypsis/

Jay Scheib, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
TBA
Thursday, April 2, 2020 - 5:00pm
Room 133, Barker Center

Internationally known for genre-defying works of daring physicality and the integration of new (and used) technologies in live performance, Scheib’s productions include the recent mutiplatform Platonov, or the Disinherited, which premiered as part of the Without Walls Festival at La Jolla Playhouse followed by a three week run at The Kitchen in New York City. Conceived as a 100-minute single-take feature film, Scheib’s adaptation of Chekhov’s play was broadcast live from The Kitchen to the AMC Empire 25 Cinema in Times Square and to BAM Rose Cinema in Brooklyn. Other recent works include Luigi Nono’s No hay camino hay que caminar as ouverture to Monteverdi’s Il Ritorno d’Ulisse under the title Odyssee Scheib new staging opened the season of the newly restructured Staatstheater Darmstadt in Germany. Scheib’s staging of Thomas Adès’ opera Powder her Face was the season opener for the final season of New York City Opera at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). Called “dazzling,” by Anthony Tommasini in the New York Times, Powder her Face went on to play Festival d’Opéra de Québec in Canada.

Learn more:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jay_Scheib

Past Events 2019 - 20

Magda Romanska, Emerson College
What is Transmedia? Structural Architectonics of Multiplatform Storytelling
Hana Worthen, Columbia University
Embodying Transmediality, Producing Hitler