Beitragsbild zeigt Aufnahme von einem Stück von Annie Dorsen, 3 Menschen sitzen auf einer Theaterbühne, dort stehen 3 Sofas, auf Leinwänden im Hintergrund sind Notenblätter projiziert.

Is Imitation the Essence of Theater? Looking Back on the Evening with Director Annie Dorsen

Look­ing back: Algorithms, AI and the Future of Theat­er — Annie Dorsen at the d.a.i. Top Talk in Tübingen

The Cre­ativ­ity of Machines: Annie Dorsen's innov­at­ive approaches
Annie Dorsen com­bines AI and Cre­ativ­ity in the world of theat­er and poses crit­ic­al questions.

She brings togeth­er the con­cepts of AI and cre­ativ­ity while tak­ing a crit­ic­al look at them. The renowned theat­er dir­ect­or uses algorithms and arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence (sys­tems such as Chat­G­PT) in her theat­er pro­duc­tions and explores how art can suc­ceed in col­lab­or­a­tion with such tech­no­lo­gic­al innov­a­tions and how co-cre­at­ive pro­cesses can open up new possibilities.

Annie Dorsen talks about her play Pro­meth­eus Firebring­er (2023); from left to right: Dr. Johannes Birgfeld, Annie Dorsen, Dr. Markus Gottschling.

Unique Per­form­ances: The Role of Algorithms in Theat­er
Dorsen's plays show how AI can influ­ence the cre­at­ive pro­cess and cre­ate a new exper­i­ence each time.

Dur­ing her vis­it to Tübin­gen on Janu­ary 12th, 2024, the New York­er presen­ted three of her plays. Each per­form­ance is unique because the AI sys­tems pro­cess new input in the form of prompts and gen­er­ate new output.

  • Hello Hi There: These are algorithms pro­grammed by Annie Dorsen, which have been trained with vari­ous con­tent such as You­Tube com­ments, texts by sci­ent­ists or con­ver­sa­tions between Annie Dorsen and her friends. Dur­ing the per­form­ance, they are used to cre­ate an indi­vidu­al con­ver­sa­tion between two computers.
  • Yes­ter­day — Tomor­row: The piece is based on the tem­por­al aspect of the change between yes­ter­day and tomor­row, as well as the change from sad­ness to optim­ism. An algorithm gradu­ally morphs the Beatles song Yes­ter­day into Tomor­row (Annie — Music­al). Three sing­ers sing the notes gen­er­ated live by the algorithm, spon­tan­eously and without preparation.
  • Pro­meth­eus Firebring­er: Faces are pro­jec­ted onto masks using arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence, and the lan­guage of the choir and Pro­meth­eus, as well as the story of Pro­meth­eus, is sup­ple­men­ted by text gen­er­a­tion. Short mono­logues by Annie Dorsen are integ­rated into the piece.

Die The Essence of Theat­er: Imit­a­tion and Cre­ativ­ity
In a con­ver­sa­tion with Dr. Johannes Birgfeld und Dr. Markus Gott­schling, Annie Dorsen dis­cussed the devel­op­ment and mean­ing of her plays. The cent­ral ques­tion was the role of imit­a­tion and its inher­ent cre­ativ­ity: Accord­ing to Aris­totle, imit­a­tion is the essence of theat­er, said Dorsen. Chat­bots mim­ic human speech and place excerpts in a new con­text. But accord­ing to Dorsen, there is a cru­cial dif­fer­ence between human and machine imit­a­tion in terms of cre­at­ive com­mu­nic­a­tion and the inten­tion­al­ity of communication.

Chal­lenges and Oppor­tun­it­ies: The Future of Theat­ers
The avail­ab­il­ity of AI brings with it new ques­tions and oppor­tun­it­ies for the world of theat­er, as Dorsen's work illus­trates. The even­ing provided an enrich­ing insight into Annie Dorsen's world of thought and cre­ation, and inspired new per­spect­ives on future the­at­ric­al productions.

See also: RHET AI — Algorithms, AI and the Future of Theat­er and d.a.i. Tübin­gen