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ECODATA.The 5th Open Fields conference on Artistic Research, Science and Technologies and RIXC Art Science Festival 2020; October 8–10, 2020, Riga. 8. October, 2020.

NOTE Program of the ECODATA festival HERE.

Sneak peek video

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Performance duration 

46 min.

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YouTube documentation HERE 

Performance format

Live/stream trans-media k/caleidoscopic multi-actor lecture performance. 

Process performance/ ongoing: online multi-media platform/repository of the creative processes, including artifacts, reflections, discussions and debates

Project description

A group of more than 15 artists, scholars, and scientists with cultural roots in several continents (North America and Turtle Island, Central America, Asia, Africa, Europe) and across many time zones embarked on this adventure  of alternative praxis between May and October 2020. The desire? Rattling the curve.

What emerged as the pattern of artistic intelligence, emotional survival  and digital performance dramaturgy was that of a k/caleidoscopic imagination, where multiple fragments reflect and bounce off of each other, while still creating a space of multiplicity and coherent connection. 

The project evolves around questions of imaging and imagining technologies, investigated by a group of multi-disciplinary, multi-lingual and multi-cultural creators from the arts and sciences. The first – imaging - is closely related to disruptions of artificial intelligence, the latter – imagining - is grounded in techniques of artistic intelligence. What is intelligence? What is ethics of intelligence? What is the politics of bias in A/I and AI? We propose an experimental and performative project to find out more.

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As a result of live prototyping and creation online across multiple time zones, outdoors and at home, a k/caleidoscopic performance emerged. Mathematicians, engaged in computational complexity theory, have applied k/caleidoscopic dramaturgy just recently. "The goal (and peculiarity) of the Caleidoscope school is to reunite in a single event as many different takes on computational complexity as can reasonably be fit in one week.”

We, however, will attempt to share a live-stream performance on the complexity of A/I or artistic intelligence with you in under ONE HOUR. And this statement has to be taken with the pinch of a RED NOSE, of course.

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Originally we planned to build a live and participatory performance around a 1870s plate camera as a central actor along with audience-actors, creating and collecting live eco/bio data and facial recognition while processing performance and images. How do images and imagination relate? How does radical slowness impact perception, sensorial processing and creative (re)cognition?  What is the dynamic between A/I (artistic intelligence) and AI (artificial intelligence)? What is the materiality of this reality?

Then the global pandemic hit the planet, continuously producing visualizations of the curve.

We embraced the challenge, experimenting and prototyping possibilities of live performance in social distancing mode both in creation and presentation. We worked a lot outdoors, in our homes or online. While busy with “flattening the curve” and a new appreciated for data visualization in the form of daily changing graphs, we were also RATTLING THE CURVE

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Paradox 1: Why do we make square images with circular lenses? What are frames (of reference, of thought, of deceit, of history, of politics, of economics)?

Paradox 2: Insisting on human togetherness in physical spaces, how to abandon this key desire and build a trans-media performance that has to be flattened and robbed of its thought to be critical dimensions? 

Paradox 3: Can we trust our perception of the world, our ECODATA input and output, when our sensory apparatus makes us perceive things that do not exist (like color or inverted image direction) but still potentially secures our species’ survival through such performances of fabrication?

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Our project is situated in discourses and technological disruptions related to questions of intelligence. How is A/I or artistic intelligence offering a creative and playful question mark to the claimed certainties and doubtful promises of AI or artificial intelligence? How are ARTifice, ARTistic and ARTificial related? What’s intelligent about it? What is the relationship between art and craft and scientific art? How can we find out more in the self-reflecting process of making a multi-modal, multi-sensory live performance?

What if augmented trees and sand (cardboard box of a camera obscura or wooden constructions of historical plate cameras and reconstructions of the laterna magica, sand melt to glass/lenses) make imaginations/ facial recognitions of humans and trees? How are we activating techniques of collective artistic intelligence when making/facing problems? How do we perform live/ life when all physical spaces of gathering are closed down and bodies are in physical distancing mode?

Just as the human eye perceives of the world as upside down and its ECODATA must be augmented by an evolutionary trick of human brains - that takes the raw, inverted visual/photonic data and turns it into a coherent, right-side-up image - we are struggling to create a live performance – meant for a shared four-dimensional space-time of human and non-human bodies – into its paradoxical other on flattened surfaces (monitors, projection surfaces) existing on the internet. How? We will make these discoveries on our journey while rattling the curve.

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Creative Team

Candy Blair, (Turtle Island, Canada) - dancer, choreograph

Antje Budde, (Canada, Germany) - artistic research director, digital dramaturg, media creator, performer, producer 

Jill Carter, (Turtle Island, Canada) - land-based dramaturg, artistic director, performer

Felipe Cervera, (Singapore, Mexico) - media generating cyclist and performer

Lars Crosby, (Germany) - music and sound composer, performer

Nina Czegledy (Canada, Hungary) - media creator and human connector

Astad Deboo (India) - dancer, choreograph

Martin Kulinna (Germany) - plate camera and digital photographer

Amit Kumar (India) - videographer (for Astad Deboo)

Montgomery C. Martin (Canada) - magic lantern printer, performer

Karyn McCallum (Canada) - virtual space and interaction designer, drawing artist

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Marta Orellana (Turtle Island, Canada) - costume designer (for Candy Blair)

George Bwanika Seremba (Canada, Uganda) - actor

Don Sinclair (Canada) - computational artist, interactive virtual space designer, performer

Heike Sommer (Germany) - videographer (for Martin Kulinna)

Grace Whiskin (Singapore, UK) - sign language performer

Vicki Zhang  (Canada, China) - AI ethics consultant

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Assistants (May-June 2020)

Sanja Vodovnik, (Slovenia) doctoral candidate 

Yizhou Zhang, (China) MA student

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