The life and legacy of enigmatic mathematician, code-breaker and pioneer of artificial intelligence Alan Turing provoke a multidisciplinary examination of the paradoxical, often binary, relationship between authenticity & performance. The theater is transformed into the site of a unique form of Turing Test (which tests a computer’s ability to convincingly imitate human intelligence) where audience become judges and six participants compete over three rounds of “conversation” that invoke Turing’s story. Driven by the participants’ individual quests for aliveness on stage, “the.humanest” pairs a variety of performance strategies with the niche pageantry of competitions such as the coveted Loebner Prize for Artificial Intelligence for a wholly original theatrical experiment that playfully interrogates what it means to be human.
Developed by the participants: Sabrina Jacob, Drew Madland, Kaija Matiss, Corinne Robkin, Raphael Shapiro and Summer Shapiro
Sound/Music Direction: Sean Brennan
Video/Lights: Simon Harding
Scenic Design: Mary Olin Geiger
Vocal Arrangements: Paul Peglar
Documentation video: Eva Von Schweinitz & Jim Moore
Photography: Jim Moore/Vaudevisuals.com
Conceived and Directed by Peter Musante
at Incubator Arts Project
Friday November 8th @ 8pm
Saturday November 9th @ 2:30pm
Saturday November 9th @ 8pm
Sunday November 10th @ 8pm
Wall text (hung inside the lobby installation): the.humanest is based on the premise that the theater is a unique form of “turing test”. in 1950, Alan Turing posed the question “can machines think?” and proposed a test to determine if they can. Today we have niche competitions such as “the Loebner Prize for Artificial Intelligence” which seek to answer Turing’s call by bringing together “chatbots”, such as “Cleverbot” and ordinary humans to see if the computers can convince us that they’re real people. Judges communicate with two anonymous entities via chat, one a human the other an AI program. After five minutes the judge must decide which is more human.
the.humanest asks the same question in a new way. Instead of Turing’s prescribed five minute chat with two entities, judges of the.humanest witness five scenes carried out in two different ways. Performers create scenes as “conversation points” meant to reveal a particular quality of humanness (mimicry, logic, code, selfhood and "the end" [mortality] ) and have two opportunities do so using two contrasting performance strategies of their choice (improvisation, choreography, chance operations, etc). Instead of comparing performers to computers, the.humanest implores participants to boldly experiment with ways to feel alive onstage, then ask a panel of peers to determine which was most convincing.
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