• During Performance / Angèle Micaux in the Self-Optimization cell

NERVOUS SYSTEM 2020


Nervous System 2020 is an installation-performance comprised of dance, spatial sound and holographic imagery. Produced by and premiered at Berlin Atonal 2019. 
Initially developed as a reflection on modern-day data-driven society, the piece turned out eerily prophetic. It finds three solitary characters living in isolated translucent cells, in playful technological companionship; existing in a network-based society.

Written and directed by Marcel Weber, it was created in collaboration with choreographer Guillaume Marie (FR) and musician G.G. Biberkopf (LT) as well as with the performers: Angèle Micaux, Carlès Romero Vidal & Maria Stamenkovic-Herranz.

Nervous System 2020 plunges into the throes of the information age. An immaterial omnipresence, net and server based, enchants the modern world, daily life became unthinkable without constant digital companionship. The work invites the spectators to meander the currents of this new world.
In a space without clear orientation marks they’ll find a Youtuber, who teaches emotional studies to an audience of bots/algorithm/AI, an Otaku, blinded and obsessed by the beautiful dazzle of technological relics, and a runner who seeks the best version of herself in telemetric spirituality. Residing in vitreous chambers, filled with haze and luminous projections, these characters become inter-actors inside holographic displays.
The chambers are spread out, de-centralized and separated from one another, a design to activate expansive spaces: transitional rooms and hallways, warehouses, even car parks or outdoor areas. For the audience it is an exploratory experience; roaming around and discovering their own perspective. There is no singular focus point here, rather a sense of ubiquity.
Elements of Gaming Culture, Dekotora and K-pop, of Photoshopping, Fashion and Trigonometry are hidden like Easter eggs, while notions of Narcissism and Neurosis, of Over-Stimulation and Ecstasies, Ritual and Submission are present all along the performance.
The protagonists show gestures and postures of contemporary lifestyle in an abstract interpretation; isolated, energetic, highly specialized: nervous cells of an invisible, all-encompassing network.
With our physical and virtual realities increasingly intertwined, Nervous System 2020 is a reflection about this complex relationship and the transformative processes to modern day data-driven society.

PAST PERFORMANCES

28th Aug 2019 - Berlin Atonal
29th Aug 2019 - Berlin Atonal
30th Aug 2019 - Berlin Atonal
31st Aug 2019 - Berlin Atonal
1st Sept 2019 - Berlin Atonal

PRESS ON "Nervous System 2020"

„ Above all, Nervous System 2020, a spectacular installation performance consisting of dance, sound and holographic images by Guillaume Marie, Marcel Weber and JG Biberkopf, with three figures in large display cases, whose movements are less dance than abstract movement. Another highlight[..]” – Volker Lüke in Der Tagesspiegel

„The title, a nod to the near future as well as the body’s electrical wiring, finds expression in the performers’ robotic movements. One delivers a particularly unsettling display of abrupt motions[..]” – Johanna Hardt on BerlinArtLink

„It is the permeability that makes Atonal installations so attractive. On the ground floor, for example, you will be greeted by Marcel Weber's light boxes, which are filled with laser beams, holograms and fog.” – Donna Schons on MONOPOL

PERSONAL NOTES

In hindsight it is quite eerie how prophetic the piece was. Singular characters existing in isolated cells. Distanced from one another. A tech-driven & network based society.
And it was even called "Nervous System" and "2020"!

The performance was intended to be truly interdisciplinary. With a strong focus on narration, performance and audience experience - all techniques in performance, audio and scenography were chosen accordingly.
No thought was spend on how it might fit into established genres of arts&culture. Is it contemporary dance? An audio-visual performance? A music or theater piece?

Intentionally it also circumventing known presentation frameworks: there is no stage, no defined audience space, no singular focus point. The audience is meant to be confused, yet intrigued, encouraged to walk around and discover.
An experiment, with Kraftwerk Berlin-Mitte being the perfect place for.
–m