Big Data Support Material for Theatre Centre Residency
Please find below the following support materials:
1. A "welcome message" from "Jordan Peterson"
2. Posthumanist Dramaturgical Strategies
3. Video by Christine Daigle explaining Posthumanist studies
4 & 5. Trailers for past Bad New Days works Italian Mime Suicide and Flashing Lights
6. Artist Bios for Big Data
1. A Message from Jordan Peterson
This audio file was generated during a brief RnD period for Big Data in Summer 2019, using an open source "deep fake" voice generator designed to mimic Jordan Peterson. To be crystal clear, we DO NOT SUPPORT Jordan Peterson's ideas, nor do we want to give him any mention in the final product of this show. We've included this as an example of the sense of humour with which we're approaching Big Data, and as an example of the ease and uncanny ability of AI to mimic human speech, with all the problematic ethical questions that entails.
NB some of the names in the clip are mis-pronounced but the main text is very clear. Enjoy!
2. Posthuman Dramaturgical Strategies & Conceptual Guidelines for Big Data
In the Summer of 2019 we had a very brief 1 week workshop for Big Data. This was a chance for us to get several trusted collaborators in a room to test out some initial ideas. The following are a series of ideas and strategies developed during this workshop.
As we are in the early creative stages, and as this is not a text-based project, we're including this here to offer some insight into our nascent process and to give you a flavour of the conceptual basis of the work.
Idealogical Assumptions to be challenged/subverted in a Posthumanist performance:
That "progress" is an inherently natural and good thing (by progress we do not mean progressive social values, but the capitalist idea that things must always be in a state of growth).
That the "economy" must be protected, maintained and grown at all cost.
That a single person's actions can have significant impact (so what, then, can one single person do?)
That Data Harvesting is an inherently neutral activity.
That we must always understand things in terms of binaries that qualitatively and/or quantitatively mutually define each other.
That human intelligence is the only one capable of creating 'drama' (i.e. can dramatic situations arise from the activities of non-human agents, like plants, minerals or bacteria?).
That the performer’s presence is necessary.
That human consciousness cannot be extended beyond the body.
That content is more important than form (but what form?).
Practical Posthuman Dramaturgical Strategies:
Generating text through Artificial Intelligence (i.e. simple text message prompts on most smart phones)
Movement sequences and dramatic structure inspired by non-human intelligence (i.e. embodying movements of fungi and animals; design inspired by organic, non-human structures)
Human performers mimicking algorithmic behaviour (i.e. sorting through vast amounts of information)
Interruption as a storytelling device linking actions & images through the 'cut' rather than logical continuity
Polyphony (many voices, many images, many meanings represented)
Collage (deriving meaning from proximity)
Imbalance as a physical mental state/storytelling device
Laughter as an essential means to connect to an audience
Boredom as a threshold to be crossed
3. Intro to Posthuman Thought Video
We're including here a short video from our dramaturgical consultant Dr. Christine Daigle, director of the Posthumanist Research institute at Brock University, as an more in depth introduction to Posthumanist thought:
4 & 5. Relevant Trailers From Past Work
We're including trailers from two past works, both artistic antecedents to Big Data.
4. Flashing Lights Trailer (3 mins)
2017 co-production with Ahuri Theatre presented at The Theatre Centre.
Flashing Lights is the spiritual predecessor to Big Data. It was very successful and generated 8 Dora Award nominations as well as touring to Kingston's Kick And Push Festival in 2018.
The piece focused on our relationship to screen technology and how it influences our lives. Some Posthumanist ideas inspired this work and kicked off our continued interest in the field. We're also putting this here to show an example of our company's aesthetic vision and how in the past we've transposed big scientific ideas and concepts into entertaining and thought provoking work. It also incorporates elements of physical comedy.
5. Italian Mime Suicide Trailer (2 mins)
2016 presented at The Theatre Centre
We've included the trailer for Italian Mime Suicide as an example of our artistic research into the aesthetic of clown and physical comedy, artistic fields we want to explore in Big Data
This show is also an example of how we've fused this kind of artistic research with larger philosophical ideas, as the the text and story of Italian Mime Suicide is largely inspired by Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben and by German Philosopher Walter Benjamin.
Italian Mime Suicide is being further developed in 2020 and scheduled for a remount in Toronto and a premiere in Montreal at Théâtre Aux Écuries, part of their Spring 2021 season.
6. Big Data Artistic Bios
The following are the bios for the current core artistic team for Big Data, along with a brief note as to why they're part of the project.
However, the team is not complete. We envision having 8 performers in total (there are currently 4). We will be holding auditions this coming Spring (both general and curated) in search of new performers/collaborators. We're specifically looking for actors, dancers and musicians with some kind of physical practice.
We're committed to diversity in our collaborators, in terms of the communities they come from/represent, their age, their abilities, as well as the artistic disciplines they practice.
We would also like to note that inviting performers with diverse abilities is new to us and we don't pretend to know all of the best practices this entails. We continue to learn. This is an area where, if our application is successful, The Theatre Centre's mentorship would be most welcome.
Adam Paolozza - Lead Artist, Director, Choreographer
Adam Paolozza is an award winning performer, director, writer, arts educator and producer.
As Artistic Director of Bad New Days he continues to explore his vision of a contemporary poetic theatre of gesture. This work explores the intersection of contemporary performance, music and traditional ‘popular’ theatrical forms, guided by the belief that the experience of live performance has the potential to open up radical new ways of thinking in the public.
Bad New Days (BND) & freelance highlights include: Spent (BND with Why Not Theatre and Theatre Smith-Gilmour), The Double (BND, co-created with Arif Mirabdolbaghi and Viktor Lukawski); Italian Mime Suicide (BND); Flashing Lights (BND, co-produced with Ahuri Theatre); Paolozzapedia (BND, co-presented by Passe Muraille); The Cave (a new musical by John Millard and Tomson Highway, co-produced by Cave Collective and The Luminato Festival) and most recently Melancholiac: The Music of Scott Walker (BND, co-created with musical director Gregory Oh and co-presented by The Music Gallery). This past Fall Adam also co-starred in Besbouss, directed by Majdi Bou-Matar and produced by Pleiades Theatre and Crow’s Theatre.
Adam is a former Urjo Kareda resident Artist at Tarragon Theatre. He is a dedicated teacher leading workshops in performance and creation all over the world. He has been a sessional instructor at Ryerson Theatre School and at U of T. Adam trained at Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris.
Victor Pokinko - Creative Producer
Victor is an award-winning producer, actor, and theatre-creator who has entertained audiences on stages ranging from parks to museums, from stone amphitheaters to the National Centre for Performing Arts in Mumbai, India.
Victor joined Bad New Days officially in 2019, after working closely with Adam Paolozza as a consulting producer, grant writer, and producer of Paolozzapedia (2019). His work with Adam is centred in Bad New Days, though they have been known to work together outside of the company as well.
As a producer, his interest lies in carving out and supporting space for new, inventive, multidisciplinary work to be developed, explored, and shared. Outside of his work with Bad New Days, he has produced projects with Bad Hats Theatre, Pea Green Theatre, Theatre Rusticle, and The Cave Collective at venues ranging from small breweries, to independent tours of national festivals and theatres, to Soulpepper Theatre’s Family Festival, and most recently, an international webcast/production of a ground-breaking multidisciplinary song-cycle, The Cave, dreamed up by Canadian visionary artists John Millard, Tomson Highway, and Martha Ross.
As a performer, he is best known to Toronto audiences for his work in Bad Hats Theatre’s flagship Peter Pan, which returns to headline Soulpepper’s Family Festival for a third year in Dec/Jan 2019, and in Pea Green Theatre's critically-acclaimed Three Men in a Boat and Three Men on a Bike, which continue to tour after five consecutive years. He is known for his highly physical and absurdly minimalist work on stage.
Victor is a graduate from Sheridan College and the University of Toronto and is also an Artistic Producer of Bad Hats Theatre.
Kari Pederson - Performer, Creator, Choreographic Consultant
Kari is a long time Bad New Days collaborator. Her unique, interdisciplinary approach is perfect for this project, as well as her ease with text, movement and improvisation.
Kari Pederson has been collaborating with Bad New Days since 2015. She's an artist and academic who works in performance incorporating dance, sound, theatre and visual art for the stage. Kari is currently finishing her MFA research in Interdisciplinary Studies folding research in Choreography, Affect Theory and Sound Studies at York University. Her experimental approach to performance creation has been recognized by the Canada Council for the Arts, Dancemakers Centre for Creation, The Toronto Dance Community Love In, Hub 14, Quote Unquote Theatre, and Series 8:08.
Valerie Calam - Performer, Creator
We've chosen Valerie for her unique skills as a dancer and her movement practice, as well as her special skills in physical comedy (she has done extensive research into the physicality of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton.
VALERIE CALAM is a Toronto-based dance artist interested in finding pathways to refresh and support herself. She umbrellas much of her work under the name Company Vice Versa () and is currently collaborating on a sound score for dance artist Allison Cummings, choreographing a new duet for herself and Kate Franklin through the support of Toronto Arts Council, and dancing with Toronto Dance Theatre in the upcoming performance run of House Mix.
Valerie recently became a Board Member of CADA-ON, and is the Dance Ontario Regional Representative for her hometown of Sault Ste. Marie.
Under the Direction of Christopher House, Valerie has had a long and enriching history with Toronto Dance Theatre. She was a full-time member of TDT from 1999-2009 and a guest artist from 2015-present. Through her career, she has worked with Christopher House, Danny Grossman, Jeanine Durning, Diane Borsato, Tedd Robinson, Bill Coleman, DA Hoskins, James Kudelka, Guillaume Cote, Serge Bennethan, Jenn Goodwin, Amanda Acorn, Ame Henderson, Joanna Kotze, Adam Paolooza, and others.
Valerie was awarded a Chalmers Professional Development Project Grant to study Body-Mind Centering in Montreal. She has been nominated for nine Dora Awards and is the KM Hunter Award winner for Dance. She completed a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Choreography in 2014 from York University where she continued her research of state and imagination-based movement and composition.
Alexander Steele Zonjic - Performer, Creator
Alexander is a former student of Adam Paolozza who has gone on to develop a relationship with Bad New Days, appearing in our 2016 work Empire of Night. We've chosen Alexander as part of our commitment to working with new generation artists (between the ages of 18-30) as well as for his unique physical performing skills and his interest in the intersection of philosophy and aesthetics of performance.
Born and proudly raised in the Rose City of Windsor, Ontario, Alexander Steele Zonjic is an emerging artist and graduate of the Ryerson School of Performance. Following his acceptance to Ryerson, Alexander joined the critically acclaimed sketch comedy touring group HEY 90’s KIDS, YOU’RE OLD and while in school landed roles such as Hamlet, in HAMLET, Mehlchior in SPRING AWAKENING, and Long John Silver in TREASURE ISLAND. The recipient of the 12th ever Louis Taube Memorial Award, Alexander has studied and performed abroad in London, England with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Grozjnan, Croatia with Michael Chekhov Europe and at the Gaulier School in France. As a playwright, Alexander is the recipient of the Robert Beardsley Award for Young Emerging Playwrights from Playwright's Guild of Canada and the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto for his play ENOLA_GAY. Acting on both stage and screen, Alexander can most recently be seen in season 11 of MURDOCH MYSTERIES or on stage at the John Candy Box most weekends with his Second City Conservatory Group.
Fiona Sauder - Performer, Creator
To us, Fiona is one of the most exciting new voices in independent theatre in Toronto and her unique skills as performer, musician and as a budding director are invaluable to our process.
Fiona Sauder is an Ottawa born actor, director, writer, and educator who has worked throughout Ontario and internationally. She has had the pleasure of collaborating with such companies as Canadian Stage, The Blyth Festival, Nightwood Theatre, Driftwood Theatre, Young People’s Theatre, YES Theatre and Theatre Gargantua. Fiona is a Dora Award winning performer and creator, and recipient of the Timshell Challenge Award for Excellence and the Jon Bannerman Scholarship for Theatre. She is a graduate of George Brown Theatre School and the proud Artistic Director of Bad Hats Theatre.
4 New Performers - TBA
Artistic & Design Team
Gregory Oh - Composer, Musical Director, Performer
Gregory is another long-time Bad New Days collaborator, co-creating Melancholiac: The Music of Scott Walker. We've chosen Gregory out of a desire to deepen our collaboration, for his excellent musicianship, but most of all for his unconventional musical thinking.
Gregory Oh tends to wander the genres, appearing in places from the legendary Berlin techno club Berghain to the Lincoln Centre. Recently he conducted Bearing (Signal) and While 100 Guitars Gently Weep (Bradyworks) and the world premiere of John Millard and Tomson Highway’s The Cave at the Luminato Festival and the Canadian premiere of Toshio Hosokawa’s The Raven at the University of Toronto New Music Festival. He also appeared as the piano soloist in Scott Good’s Hands of Orlac with the London Symphonia and Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, toured Rwanda and the UK with Neema Bickersteth and Century Song (Volcano), and was featured as conductor and pianist at the Shanghai New Music Festival. Other credits: Continuum, Soundstreams, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Canadian Opera Company, the Evergreen Gamelan Club, Native Earth, Canadian Stage, Soulpepper, Tapestry New Opera, Canadian Rep Theatre, Theatre Direct, Arraymusic, Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, Esprit Orchestra and San Diego Opera. Upcoming work includes Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians at the University of Toronto in January 2020, touring with Soundstreams and Crows Theatre’s Musik für das Ende in spring 2020, and touring Canada and Europe withThe Cave in summer 2020. He teaches at the University of Toronto and NYO Canada.
Shannon Lea Doyle & Triga Collective - Designers
We've chosen to work with Shannon and Triga out of our enormous respect for their work, but more specifically because of Shannon's background with sculpture (we envision the set of the piece being sculptural, moveable, and manipulatable by the performers) as well as her and Triga's commitment to exploring and developing eco-friendly design practices.
Shannon Lea Doyle was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. Her formative years were spent as a high performance athlete in the sport of sprint kayak. The social and physical dynamism of this experience informs her appreciation of space, movement and collaboration. In 2013 she graduated with a BFA from OCAD University and her program’s highest artistic accolade: the Sculpture and Installation Medal. Soon after she entered Soulpepper Theatre's Academy where she studied set, costume, lighting and projection design under the mentorship of Lorenzo Savoini. In the past five years Shannon has established a career moving between collaborations with independent artists on new work and reimagining classic texts and musicals on some of the most reputable stages in Canada. Shannon’s work has been recognized by several nominations and awards, most notably a Dora Mavor Moore award for her set design of John. Shannon maintains a close artistic relationship with YES Theatre in Sudbury and has been the company’s resident designer for four seasons. Shannon is also a co-founder of Triga Creative: a design collective working to create extraordinary live experiences through collaborative models that value people, planet and profit.
Her design credits include: Three Women from Swatow, The Jungle, Girls Like That (Tarragon Theatre), Audible Songs From Rockwood (SummerWorks), Getting Married (Shaw Festival), Remembering The Winnipeg General (zietpunktheatre), Maada’ookii Songlines (Luminato), Jesus Hopped The ‘A’ Train, Fool For Love, Little Menace: The Pinter Plays, La Bête, Vimy, The Just, The Heidi Chronicles, The Anger of Ernest and Ernestine, The Dybbuk, Concert Series (Soulpepper Theatre), Romeo and Juliet (Canadian Stage), This Is How We Got Here (Native Earth), The Philosopher’s Wife (Paradigm Productions), Trout Stanley (Factory Theatre), Behaviour (GCTC), The Last Wife (The Belfry Theatre / GCTC), John (Company Theatre), Boy In The Moon, Breath In Between (Crows Theatre), Violet, Merrily We Roll Along, Billy Elliot, Hairspray, and Fiddler on the Roof (YES Theatre).
Triga Creative is Alexandra Lord, Michelle Tracey and Shannon Lea Doyle: three next-generation designers of space, bodies and light for events and performance. Through harmony and disruption, Triga Creatve creates extraordinary live experiences. Applying an autonomous, collaborative model that values the sustainability of people, planet and profit, Triga Creative is able to design for any scope, always at the human scale. In their first year, and with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, Triga has established a studio space, rental costume stock, and hosted an ambitious month-long Eco-Design Charrette in partnership with The Centre for Sustainable Practice in the Arts and Climate Change Theatre Action. Triga centres cross generational collaboration, they have been honoured by the mentorship of Astrid Jansen, Ian Garrett and Lorenzo Savoini, among others, and are proud to provide support and meaningful work opportunities to emerging designers. In 2019 Triga's resident emerging designer was Beatriz Arevalo. Triga’s upcoming collaborations include projects with visual artist Shary Boyle, Luminato 2020, a new creation with BAD NEW DAYS, and the musicals Newsies and A Chorus Line for YES Theatre’s 2020 repertory season. Other Credits: Maada’ookii Songlines (Luminato), Director’s Guild of Canada’s 2018 Awards Ceremony (DGC), The Philosopher’s Wife, The Scavenger's Daughter (Paradigm Productions).
Interdisciplinary Experts/Dramaturgical Consultants:
We have chosen an extensive team of interdisciplinary experts, affectionately dubbed "dramaturgical consultants", in order to bring real-world expertise and unique, extra-theatrical perspectives to this work. This is vitally important for Big Data as the nature of our research is trans-disciplinary. Consultants have been chosen for their unique expertise, their commitment to innovative thinking and for their desire to collaborate with artists and communities to change the popular discourse around many of the key issues we will be exploring. They will bring an invaluable perspective and store of wisdom to the piece that will open up our practice to new ideas and enlarge the intellectual and geographical impact of the project.
Dr. Christine Daigle - Dramaturgical Consultant
Christine Daigle works primarily in philosophy and in interdisciplinary humanities. She is a Full
Professor in the Philosophy Department and the Director of the Posthumanism Research
Institute at Brock University. She is also the Director of the Posthumanism Research Network, a SSHRC-funded partnership (2017-2020) that hosts academic events such as a speaker series and workshops that explore posthumanist themes and theory as well as an international conference on Posthumanism: Cinema Philosophy Media in May 2020 at Brock. Daigle’s own research work in recent years has focused on the transdisciplinary field of posthumanist material feminism. She has presented many papers, including keynote presentations, and authored articles. She investigates the concept of posthuman vulnerability, including the environmental toxicities that constitute us. She investigated the latter question as it related to the environmental concept of sustainability in an article co-authored with Olga Cielemęcka (“Posthuman Sustainability: An Anti-anthropocentric Ethos for our Anthropocenic Future,” Theory, Culture & Society, volume 36, Nos. 7–8, 2019, DOI:10.1177/0263276419873710). She also argued for the necessity to shift from an anthropocentric to a non-anthropocentric worldview in an article co-authored with Liette Vasseur, UNESCO Chair on Community Sustainability (“Is it Time to Shift our Environmental Thinking?” Sustainability 11, 5010, 2019, doi:10.3390/su11185010). She received SSHRC-funding (2019-2022) to support her research and writing of the book “Rethinking the Human: Posthuman Vulnerability and its Ethical Potential.”
Dr. David Fancy - Dramaturgical Consultant
Dr. Fancy received his doctoral training at the Samuel Beckett Centre, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland working on questions around the ontology of stage presence and their intersection with postcoloniality in the work of playwright Bernard-Marie Koltès and director Patrice Chéreau. His research interests and current publishing deals with questions of ontology, immanence and performance, with a specific interest in immanence and performativity, immanence and performance training, and immanence and technology. Fancy has an extensive creative practice as a playwright and director. He has been awarded a Brock Chancellor’s Chair for Excellence in Teaching, (2005-08, with Sue Spearey), as well as disABILITIES and Best Practices teaching awards. David served as Chair of Department from 2009-2012.
About The Posthumanism Research Institute, Big Data project partner
The institute seeks to investigate the status and limits of the “human” in an era in which multiple crises — global warming, superintelligent computers, genetic engineering, and massive species extinction, to name but a few — mark the precariousness of exclusively human-centred practice and thought. Our transdisciplinary research unit, in collaboration with other likeminded centres, institutes, and scholars across the globe, is committed to the idea that humanity’s perseverance in the coming centuries will require collaboration with agents (animal, vegetable, fungal, viral, mineral, and digital) besides those formerly classified as “human.”
Our aim is to engage in research activities that do not remain confined to disciplinary boundaries. Specifically, we will explore the following research clusters and associated research questions:
Posthuman Ontology: How do we define the human, but also being itself in posthuman terms? What is the status of beings (human, nonhuman, organic, inanimate, etc.) and relations among them? How can we think existence away from its mere appearance to human beings?
Posthuman Ethics and Politics: What happens to politics in the wake of the breakdown of long-held ideas about representation, the subject, progress, and reason? Who/what counts as a posthuman agent? How is ethical responsibility ascribed? Toward whom? How is the social world to be organized once we expand agency to nonhuman beings? Is such an expansion even possible?
Posthuman Aesthetics: How is the posthuman represented in a post-representational moment? What kinds of languages or images have evolved to address this problem? In what ways are new encounters conditioning new aesthetic models of sensory engagement, such as gaming and selfies? These digital aesthetic encounters should be coupled with new aesthetic assemblages of the human body, including composites produced through plastic surgery, organ transplants, and bioengineering.
Posthuman Science: How are humans and nonhumans (living and nonliving) entangled in the production of scientific knowledge? How is the being of the human and nonhuman affected by technology? Is transhumanism and the experience of the cyborg a reinforcement of the anthropocentric point of view? What new possibilities are open for thinking the nonhuman via science?
Anthea Foyer - Dramaturgical Consultant
Anthea Foyer is the Project Lead, Smart City Mississauga. Throughout her time at the City she has been the Curator Digital Public Art, Digital Strategist for the Culture Division and has worked in Planning & Building helping to develop their digital strategy. She is also part of the extended team for Mississauga’s Community Engagement program and helped to develop the city’s community engagement strategy. Prior to this Anthea was the founder of a digital narrative company, led a collaborative residency program at the CFC Media Lab, and has advised and mentored on diverse projects ranging from community building and urban issues to arts and entertainment. She is currently the Co-Chair of the Board at InterAccess Media Arts Centre and a Board member for the Department of Imaginary Affairs. She also has a visual art and storytelling practice.
Maryam Nabavi - Dramaturgical consultant
Please note we are currently in talks with Maryam about her participation but she is not 100% confirmed. We have worked with her in the past and we have a good professional relationship with her, so we've included her here.
Maryam is a co-founder of a Toronto startup where she explores the application of Internet of Things in tiny living spaces. Previous to this she served as the Vice President of Technology at Idea Couture helping clients such as AT&T, LG Electronics, NASA, Samsung Electronics, and P&G create game-changing products and experiences.
Maryam is also a visiting lecturer at the International Space University, where she holds an annual summer workshop on applied innovation for the commercial space industry. She holds a BSc in Aerospace Engineering from Ryerson University and an MSc and MA in Innovation Design Engineering from Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art, respectively.