Virtual Stage and Avatar Design for Angel-Ho

The title of a 2019 novel by Ian McEwan is as ambiguous as it is ironic: Machines like me. Machines are like us – and they like us. Is affection also a threat? And which machines are we actually talking about? Bots or robots that poison us in war or care for us in old age? Are we talking about the upgrading of biotechnology or about intelligence networks that we call forests or mushroom colonies? Are the automatons already so close to our sensibilities that they also want to be free and are rehearsing the next uprising of the machines – or are we quantified selves conversely not much more than appendages of network machines that ensure, for example, that encounters with a potential virus carrier are unlikely?


In any case, the difference between humans and robots will soon disappear, predict computer scientists such as Rodney Allen Brooks, who of course also have a vested interest in propagating this research interest. Transhumanist-minded people are upgrading their bodies, while the data ego is getting more and more “flesh”. The difference between nature and technology is dissolving in the access to blueprints, as is the humanistic hope that unconscious desires, fears and preferences will not become the subject of algorithmic control.


People use machines that influence and change people. We have long since become different since we experienced how machines sound, create images or make us think about robot ethics or so-called death algorithms in self-driving cars, for example. And we become different again when we look at what machines are capable of when they offer us a world without humans but full of sensations.


The course explores the relationship between man and machine with the help of joint readings of texts, films and musical examples and, where possible, develops practical applications for productive interaction.


In our collective’s creative journey, we delved into the realm of virtual scenarios and avatar design with a special focus on collaborating with the talented Cape Town-based artist, Angel-Ho. Our objective was to transform the virtual space into an expansive canvas for an extended performance

Lehrende: Thomas Edlinger & Cenk Güzelis