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Generative Art Summit – The Orchid Cage

July 6th – 8 pm
“Sandfiction 4K: The Orchid Cage”
Akademie der Künste Berlin, Hanseatenweg

Performance of an actress, two musicians and a sand painter – and with special appearance of an Artificial Intelligence

Herbert W. Franke’s 1961 novel is an exciting and bitter parable about the evolution of man in a highly technological age of entertainment – from virtual presence to artificial intelligence.

As soon as the lights dim down, a cheerful stewardess struts in to congratulate the audience on their participation in the 4K experiment by the Sandfiction Gaming Pleasure Company. Swinging – does she remind of a sterile like doll in her actions … ? – she explains the rules: Two teams travel by a synchronized beam to the planet CKPS-18102724 to find the most highly developed organism there in a virtual game competition. It soon becomes clear that human-like beings must have been existing there. But where are they? They seem to have disappeared. Has civilization died? The virtual earthlings begin their precise search on this planet – they soon realize that they are being controlled by a barely perceptible but their actions closely tracking machine that we now would call an “artificial intelligence”. It holds the players ethically responsible for their actions on the alien planet in a trial. Finally, “the Machine” reveals a surprising secret about the beings on this planet, who have created it themselves …

The art meets science – Foundation Herbert W. Franke enables the artist group to perform “The Orchid Cage” once again as part of the Generative Art Summit at the Akademie der Künste – for the first time in English. Information and video of the historic performance from 2018 here (in German). The event at the end of the summit takes today’s controversial debate about whether AI can be used as an art machine into a much broader dimension. In this parable, it raises the question of whether humans can create an artificial intelligence that will be much more in the future: a moral and all-encompassing happiness machine that fulfills people’s every wish and thus leads them into an evolutionary horror scenario.

Standbilder der ersten Aufführung 2018
all Photos: Hartmut Hientzsch

Artist group KALEIDOLUX

Sarah Gros NF | Actress, Text
Chris Kaiser | Sand Painter
Peter Nickel | Violoncello
Xoforo | Electronic Sounds

The premiere of the piece took place in 2018 as part of the European Church Music Festival. The Remszeitung newspaper wrote: “A phenomenal piece of multimedia art in every respect”. And Hartmut Thamm in “Der Schreibblock”: “A courageous, stirring, exciting project… A great experiment for which there are shouts of bravo and long-lasting applause. It challenges you and offers no solutions, but leaves you with questions to take home with you.”