Exploring AI Through Theatre: The Thought-Provoking Journey of Tjaša Ferme’s Bioadapter
Transforming AI’s Narrative Through Stage Play
Slovenian playwright and director Tjaša Ferme, based in New York, is harnessing the power of theatre to challenge our perceptions of artificial intelligence (AI). Through her latest production, Bioadapter, she urges audiences to question the implications of AI and technology on our society.
Debuted in early September, Bioadapter weaves a narrative around the lives of ordinary people and scientists in a speculative future dominated by AI. This innovative format, which blurs the lines between theatre and documentary, compels viewers to reflect on the potential consequences of an unchecked AI-driven future.
From Inspiration to Realization: The Birth of Bioadapter
For Ferme, the journey to Bioadapter was sparked by a panel discussion at the Science in Theater festival, which delved into the world of biomedicine and the work of Heidi Boisvert. Captivated by the concept of metatheatre and its absurdity, Ferme began filling in the gaps, eventually crafting the narrative for Bioadapter.
She then came across James Yu’s play, Singular, which further helped in shaping the script. Through rewrites and additions, Ferme was able to create a unique, documentary-style research theatre that incorporates portrayals of scientists and real people.
Intersecting Theatre and AI: The Mechanics of Bioadapter
Bioadapter is not just about AI; it also utilizes it. The play incorporates AI and brain-computer interface (BCI) technology, allowing actors to interact with brain scanners, EEG headphones, and explore different BCI applications. Through this, the actors’ movements are influenced by brain data, adding an additional layer of complexity and intrigue to the performance.
One of the central themes of the play is the perceived threat of AI to artistic professions. A scene in the play depicts an actor attending an audition, only to discover his image has been stolen by AI. The audience then has the opportunity to cross-examine this AI in the form of an avatar, assessing and judging its actions. To bring this scene to life, a custom avatar was created, and a brain-computer interface was designed using EEG headphones.
Tjaša Ferme: A Visionary at the Intersection of Art and Science
Ferme, an alumnus of the Ljubljana Academy for Theatre, Radio, Film, and Television (AGRFT), has been a prominent figure in New York’s theatre scene for over a decade. She is the founding artistic director of the Transforma Theater and is known for her interactive theatrical experiences that blend science, consciousness, and ritual.
Her creative portfolio also includes a short film, Ophelia’s Flip, which was screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 2012. In 2019, she founded the Science in Theatre festival at The Cell theatre in New York. This unique festival fuses theatre with new technologies and fosters collaboration between theatre artists and scientists.
In today’s fast-paced, technologically driven world, Tjaša Ferme’s Bioadapter serves as a timely reminder of the potential implications of AI on our society. Through the transformative power of theatre, Ferme compels us to challenge our perceptions and engage in a dialogue about the future we want to create.
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