Special performance by Marco Donnarumma presenting Corpus Nil

During Conflux festival media and performance artist Marco Donnarumma will present his awarded performance 'Corpus Nil'. Don't miss this unique closing performance of the festival on Sunday 5 June.

Human bodies and identities are continuously categorized, online and offline, by artificially intelligent algorithms and machines. But what if, by contrast, artificial intelligence could be used to contaminate human bodily experience? How does a body defiled by algorithms look and move like?

Corpus Nil is a performance for a human body and an artificially intelligent machine. A naked body, partly human and partly machine, lies on stage. It is an amorphous cluster of skin, muscles, hardware and software. Biophysical sensors attached to the performer’s limbs capture bodily electrical voltages and corporeal sounds and feed them to the machine.

Thanks to a sophisticated set of algorithms, each nuance of the body’s motion sets off a synaesthetic play of sound and light directed by the machine. The biological signals of the body influence the choices of the machine, but cannot control what it will do. In turn, the auditive and visual saturation produced by the machine influences the body’s movement, but disrupts its perception and motor skills at the same time. Despite being intimately linked to the human body, the machine is autonomous and chooses by itself how to respond to the performer`s movements.

In an unstable feedback loop, the body and the machine pollute each other. The amorphous being on stage slowly evolves into an unfamiliar creature. It reconfigures its parts through a sensuous choreography pushing the limits of muscular tension, limbs torsion, skin friction and equilibrium. The corporeal sound frequencies are spatialised using a multi-channel sound system surrounding the audience, while bioelectrical flashes of light rhythmically illuminate the space.

Through sound, light and optical illusions, the physical mutation of the body impacts and submerges the audience, inducing a trance-like experience. As the body and the machine form a partial, unknown and yet graceful being, spectators feel as if its heart was beating within their own bodies. It is unclear whether the new body is human enough, or perhaps, the common meaning of ‘human’ is not enough to describe it.

Corpus Nil is part of the 7 Configurations cycle (2014-2019), a series on the conflicts surrounding the human body in the era of artificial intelligence (AI).

Marco Donnarumma (DE) is an artist, performer, stage director and scholar weaving together contemporary performance, new media art and interactive computer music since the early 2000s. He manipulates bodies, creates choreographies, engineers machines and composes sounds, thus combining disciplines, media and emerging technologies into an oneiric, sensual, uncompromising aesthetics. He is internationally acknowledged for solo performances, stage productions and installations that defy genres, and where the body becomes a morphing language to speak critically of ritual, power and technology.

For more info on Marco Donnarumma check: https://marcodonnarumma.com

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