All That Is Seen and Unseen is an interdisciplinary, installation opera which investigates the multifarious effects of technology on our collective human consciousness. The work confronts the dangerous erosion of truth and trust in our society, which is rapidly intensifying due to advancing A.I., computational propaganda, deepfakes, and other tools that manipulate and obscure reality. Through video, music, custom programming, and performance, the artists explore machine learning by creating a performative neural network in real time, imagining a quasi-supernatural invasion of malfunctioning and overreaching intelligent machines, where nothing is as it appears and no one is safe.
DATES AND TIMES: June 30 – August 27, 2023
Open to the public Friday, Saturday and Sunday 11 – 5 pm
Artist Day: July 8, 2023
LOCATION: Harvestworks Art and Technology Program Building 10a, Nolan Park, Governors Island
The goal of the work is to explore machine learning by creating a performative neural network in real time, using image, sound and movement to elucidate algorithmic systems which influence our daily lives and experiences. We strive to create a work that builds in complexity through time, allowing the system to ‘learn’, revealing variable pathways with the potential to reach a different conclusion/outcome with every performance.
The full production of All That Is Seen will be set in an immersive, transmutable, electronic space, inhabited by 3-5 performers who conjure a multifaceted narrative through song, choreographed actions, spoken (and sung) texts, codes, and looped interruptions. Throughout the piece, customized technology will be used as a transformative device to ‘live mix’ and alter human appearances (both voice and body) as well as the settings they inhabit, causing viewers to question their assumptions, beliefs and understanding of reality. As the performers fluidly move between genders and personas, notions of identity, authenticity, equity, social power structures and authority are questioned and subverted.
An ontological investigation into the nature of deception and truth, All That Is Seen explores the current, damaged state of our global online discourse, imagining a quasi-supernatural invasion of malfunctioning and overreaching intelligent machines, where nothing is as it appears and no one is safe.
Documentation of the installation:
SHAUN IRONS and LAUREN PETTY (AutomaticRelease) are Brooklyn based, interdisciplinary artists who make multimedia performances, installations, films and interactive video scores for live performance. Recent projects include, All Over Everywhere, a multidisciplinary requiem for an imperiled planet (MITU580, 2021), Why Why Always, a live-cine performance inspired by Jean-Luc Godard’s Alphaville (Abrons, 2017) and Keep Your Electric Eye On Me, a multimedia live performance and interactive media lab exploring transformation, dual realities and hysteria (commissioned by HERE Theater, 2015). Film projects include Standing By: Gatz Backstage, a feature-length, behind-the-scenes documentary focusing on ERS’s epic theater production Gatz and the in-progress experimental feature Lessons In Lost Time.
Shaun and Lauren’s projects have been seen in NYC, nationally, and internationally at venues such as BAM, The Brooklyn Museum, Abrons Arts Center, The Chocolate Factory, Anthology Film Archives, Tokyo Wonder Site, and the Venice Biennale. They have received numerous awards including grants, fellowships and residencies from the NEA, NYSCA, NYFA, LMCC, Jerome Foundation, Harvestworks, Asian Cultural Council, Signal Culture, Yaddo, MacDowell, Camargo Foundation and the Bogliasco Foundation. www.automaticrelease.org
Zach Layton is a composer, multi-instrumentalist, improviser, curator, and educator working collaboratively across genres and disciplines. His work has explored musical approaches to biofeedback and brainwave signal, transcriptions of insect rhythms for string orchestra, sonification of internet data, multichannel sound installations, and photographic representation of sonic vibration.
He has composed orchestral music for the Cleveland Chamber Symphony and the String Orchestra of Brooklyn and has performed and exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum, the Kitchen, MoMa/PS1, ISSUE Project Room, Roulette, EMPAC, Eyebeam, International Computer Music Festival, Experimental Intermedia, Performa, Transmediale Berlin, Audio Art Festival Krakow, and many other venues in New York and worldwide. He has collaborated with a diverse range of artists and musicians (including Vito Acconci, Pauline Oliveros and Tony Conrad) and is the director of the celebrated NYC Darmstadt New Music series (with Nick Hallett). He has received awards from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, the Macdowell Fellowship, Fulbright/NAF, and the Jerome Foundation and is currently assistant professor of music production at Ramapo College of New Jersey. www.zachlaytonindustries.com
PRESS QUOTES – ABOUT SHAUN & LAUREN
“otherworldly video projections” – Eric Grode, NY Times
“a beautiful and visionary work and a real artistic achievement” – Philip Glass, Composer
“The sonic values and video images establish themselves for quite a long time. Shaun Irons and Lauren Petty have done a brilliant job here. It reminds me of art installations I have seen in LA at the Getty.”
– Cheryl King, NY Theater Now
“This performance will continue to haunt and intrigue me for quite some time.” – Dillon Slagle, Theater is Easy
“Kudos to the artistic team for the bravery to approach the unattainable in reality, and for the marvelous artistic and technical talent creating images and manipulating media.” – Mary Seidman, Eye on the Arts, NY
ABOUT ZACH LAYTON:
“vital, audacious, and energizing performance” – Allan kozinn, New York Times
“Meditative” – the New Yorker
INTERVIEWS AND PRESS COVERAGE