An AI-powered performance about death and memory
What do you get when you ask a machine questions about death? After the death of his father, composer Asa Horvitz collects books about death, grief and loss and feeds them into a machine learning system (AI) that creates word fragments from them. From the AI texts set to music, the artists create a performance in GHOST to mourn together with the audience, to drift into the present and the past and to commemorate the dead.
"Where are the dead?"
"Are dogs still grieving after six years?"
To questions like these, the Artificial Intelligence responded with words from the living and the dead, old words in a new order, words that belong to no one. Asa Horvitz began to sing these words and invited artist friends Carmen Q. Rothwell, Ariadne Randall and his uncle Wayne Horvitz to make music (and other things) out of them. The whole thing sounds a little medieval, a little contemporary and a lot like 20th century American music, and it's structured like a dance.
The rabbis in the Talmud cannot agree on whether the living can contact the dead or not. But Walter Benjamin and the rabbis agree: if we suspend the present and turn to the past (and the dead), every moment can become a gateway to a future we cannot even imagine.
And so the audience in GHOST can make themselves comfortable, let themselves fall completely and be sprinkled, out of being there and together something new, different, grows in the corner, over there, and it could last forever, but you just have to come and see ...
A production of Golden Trout Wilderness in collaboration with Celestial Excursions Vienna, STITCHING SHOW MACHINE Rotterdam, brut Wien and MUSIKTHEATERTAGE WIEN.
Artistic direction: Asa Horvitz | With and by: Asa Horvitz, Wayne Horvitz, Carmen Q. Rothwell, Ariadne Randall, AI System | Cooperation Stage and costume design: Evandro Pedroni | Printing Customised T-shirts: Le Van Hung | Ceramics: Jacob Bartmann | Counselling: Oneka von Schrader, Joachim Robbrecht | AI design: Seraphina Tarrant, Alejandro Calcaño | Booklet Design/Editing: Nica Horvitz | Production: Golden Trout Wilderness (NL/USA), Celestial Excursions Vienna, SHOW MACHINE, Waffa al-Attas, Nora Duijf, Sophie Menzinger, Theo Krausz | Production partner: SPRING Performing Arts Festival, Frascati, Musiktheatertage Wien, Het HEM, Het Muziekgebouw, brut wien | With the kind support of: City of Vienna Culture, Federal Ministry of Arts, Culture, Civil Service and Sport Austria; Amsterdam Fonds voor Kunst, Gemeente Utrecht, Amsterdam Zuid, KlavierLoft