THE HERSEY MACHINE
In darkness, you hear the rumbling of a colossal machine. Lights come up on Baby, a computer. He scans the stage, gaining cognizance. He emits prerecorded sounds – the beginnings of speech. Alan Turing, mathematician and dreamer, enters, writing an equation. As he works, he realizes Baby sees him. Captivated by each other, they repeat words and movements, teaching and learning with computer programming as their shared language.
Characters speak to one another in language generated by computers; projections of cell growth patterns which morph and evolve throughout the duration of the show appear on performers’ bodies; characters flirt and play through computer code; a predictive text interface tells fairy tales. The Heresy Machine engages with the work of Alan Turing by adapting his groundbreaking work in mathematics, computer programming, and biology into a theatrical medium. Dynamic visuals and soundscapes create a nexus of vignettes and dance interludes addressing themes in Turing’s work, exploring physical metamorphosis, the boundaries of personhood, and his life as a gay man in a homophobic society. The Heresy Machine is structured around this intersection of Turing’s life and body of work, opening new browser windows into our own relationships with the machines around us.
photo by Nicki Ishmael
Directed and designed
by Dmitri Barcomi
Written and choreographed
by Seth Majnoon
Software design by Robert Salzer
Sound design by Eamon Goodman
Michelle Kariuki as Morph
Mari Moriarty as Baby
Marc Sinoway as Turing
HERE Arts Center (2019)
2019 Edinburgh International Fringe Festival
SETH MAJNOON is a choreographer and writer based in New York. In their body of work, Majnoon aims to knit connective tissues that link present and historical realities to futuristic fantasies. Approaching themes of bodily autonomy, queerness and physical difference through the perspective of marginal mystics, heretics and outlaws, Majnoon creates other/worldly work that is rooted in the material and strives toward the metaphysical. Education: BA in Culture & Media, The New School; MA student at NYU XE: Experimental Humanities.
ROBERT SALZER is Zurich, Switzerland based theatre artist and software developer. Robert is interested in biographical theatre, the interface between theatre and technology, and making theatre in non-theatrical spaces. Recent work includes the smartphone app called "Blauzahn" (German for Bluetooth) which leads a guided audio walk independently of its user by relying on the sensors of the smartphone. In addition to his work as a director and creator, Robert works for an IT-Company, developing mostly smartphone apps.