Marco Donnarumma, Margherita Pevere

Meta.Morf 2024 – [up]Loaded Bodies / Kjøpmannsgata Ung Kunst / Performance April 19 /
Student NOK 80 / Ordinary NOK 160: Ticket

Eingeweide: from the 7 Configurations cycle (2018)

What does it mean to create a truly autonomous machine, independent from human control? And what happens when organs live outside of a body? Perhaps the human body’s only real power is to take on ever changing forms and identities.

“Eingeweide” is the staging of a ritual of coalescence. Inhabiting a desolated, surreal landscape, two human bodies become violently entangled with an artificially intelligent (AI) prosthesis, out-of-body organs, relics from computer server farms, and animal remains.

The prosthesis uses AI algorithms to learn in real time how to move, exist and perform on stage. The organs pulsate, leak, and crawl on the floor, bearing traces of the microbial cultures which created them. Sounds from the performers’ muscular activity are amplified and transformed by AI algorithms into a powerful and visceral auditive experience, submerging the spectators.

The performers’ bodies become, thus, one and multiple, at times asserting, at times misplaced. They are the means of a drastic form of bodily experimentation, where alternate identities emerge from the convergence of human, machine, and micro-organisms. In such a configuration, each element drastically affects the other. Physicality and psyche are meshed up, shaken, and probed.

A far cry from trans-humanist ideals or techno-phobic claims, “Eingeweide” creates its own vocabulary of symbolic meaning, manifesting the relationship between humans, technology, and living-others as a harsh, poetic, and humbling form of intimacy.

“Eingeweide” is part of the “7 Configurations” cycle (2014-2019), a series of works by Marco Donnarumma on the conflicts surrounding the human body in the era of artificial intelligence (AI).

“Eingeweide”, 2018, Evening-length piece for two performers, machine and biomaterials. Photo: Giovanni De Angelis.

Concept: Marco Donnarumma

Artistic direction: Marco Donnarumma, Margherita Pevere
Dramaturgy, choreography: Marco Donnarumma, Margherita Pevere
Performers: Marco Donnarumma, Margherita Pevere
Music, interaction programming: Marco Donnarumma
Stage design: Marco Donnarumma, Margherita Pevere
Light design: Andrea Familari
Performer’s biofilm mask: Margherita Pevere
Physiological computing software and hardware: Marco Donnarumma
Artwork’s description texts: Marco Donnarumma

Photography: Manuel Vason
Live photography: Giovanni De Angelis, Nada Zgank | Kapelica
Video trailer: Marco Donnarumma
Production management: Kotryna Slapsinskaite

Robotic prosthesis
Concept: Marco Donnarumma
Morphology, engineering: Marco Donnarumma
Fabrication, AI programming: Marco Donnarumma
Neurorobotics scientific advice: Prof. Manfred Hild
Scientific support: Neurorobotics Research Lab, Beuth Hochschule, Berlin
Additional AI programming: Alberto de Campo
Engineering design, 3D modelling and 3D printing: Christian Schmidts
Visual design: Ana Rajcevic
Biofilm skin: Margherita Pevere

Eingeweide is an artwork and a production by Marco Donnarumma co-directed with Margherita Pevere, realized as a part of the 7 Configurations cycle ideated and produced by Marco Donnarumma. Eingeweide was commissioned by CTM Festival (DE) and realised in the context of Donnarumma’s Fellowship at the Graduiertenschule, Berlin University of the Arts.

Margherita Pevere (DE/IT) is an internationally acknowledged artist and researcher working across biological arts and performance with a distinctive visceral signature. Her inquiry hybridizes biotechnology, ecology, queer and death studies to create arresting installations and performances that trail today’s ecological complexity. Her body of work is a blooming garden crawling with genetically edited bacteria, cells, sex hormones, microbial biofilm, blood, slugs, growing plants and decomposing remains. Pevere has completed a practice-based doctorate in Artistic Research at Aalto University, Department of Arts, Design and Architecture. Her work has been shown at Volkstheater Wien (AT), Kiasma Theatre (FI), Kapelica Gallery (SI), KONTEJNER (HR), Bioart Society (FI), Ars Electronica (AT), Bandit Mages (FR), Art Laboratory Berlin (DE), Donaufestival (AT), Casa Viva (MX), Foundation L’Art Pur (SAU), Kunstquartier Bethanien (DE), among others. Currently, she is developing her new project “Lament” with the support of the NaturArchy – Resonances Project at the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, and she is artist in residence at the ENLIGHT-TEN+ immunology consortium. Pevere has given a number of talks and lectures that were organized by venues and platforms such as ZKM (DE), Quo Artis Foundation (ES), Disruption Network Lab (DE), and Werkleitz Festival (DE). Pevere is a member of the Finnish Bioart Society and the Queer Death Studies Network, and an affiliated researcher of the Eco- and Bioart Lab. Her work received individual and group grants from the JRC Resonances Project, EMARE Program, Kone Foundation, Finnish National Agency for education, Fonds Darstellende Künste: Sonderprogramm Autonom, Koprodutionsfond Berliner Senat für Europa und Kultur, PACT Zollverein, and Berlin Hauptstadtkulturfonds. She was a finalist in the category of Art and Science of Falling Walls, an international science platform awarding scientific breakthroughs, received an Honorable Mention by Share prize, a Digital art award by Romaeuropa Festival (with Marco Donnarumma), and a visual Art Prize by Com.It.Es. Berlin. | | 

Together with Andrea Familari, Pevere and Donnarumma co-founded the performance group Fronte Vacuo to realize performances made of bodies, symbionts, sounds, machines, and images. 

Marco Donnarumma (DE) is an artist, performer, inventor, stage director and theorist weaving together contemporary performance, new media art and interactive computer music since the early 2000s. He manipulates bodies and invents machines, crafts choreographies and composes sounds, thus combining disciplines, media and technology into an oneiric, sensual, uncompromising aesthetics. He is internationally acknowledged for solo performances, stage productions and installations that defy genres, and where the body becomes a morphing language to speak critically of ritual, power and technology.

Touring consistently for the past fifteen years across major and independent theaters, concert halls, parking lots, squats, festivals and museums worldwide, Donnarumma’s work has been shown, among others, at Volkstheater Wien (AT), Münchner Kammerspiele (DE), Haus der Kulturen der Welt (DE), NRW Forum (DE), Ming Contemporary Art Museum (CN), Laznia Center for Contemporary Art (PL), Chronus Art Center (CN), ZKM (DE), IRCAM (FR), LABoral (ES), Kontejner (HR), tanzhaus nrw (DE), Romaeuropa Festival (IT), Ars Electronica (AT), Donaufestival (AT), Nemo Biennale/HeK Basel (FR), musikprotokoll (AT), CTM Festival (DE), transmediale (DE), Panorama Festival (BR).

Donnarumma holds a Ph.D. in performing arts, computing and body theory from Goldsmiths, University of London. Currently he is an Associate Researcher at the Intelligent Instruments Lab, Reykjavik, while recently he was a Medienkunst Fellow at and PACT Zollverein, Essen. He has held research positions at the Akademie­ für Theater ­und Digitalität, Dortmund and at the Berlin University of the Arts in partnership with the Neurorobotics Research Laboratory. His work was funded by European Commission, Goethe-Institut, Berlin Senate, Fonds Darstellende Künste, Rockefeller Foundation, British Council and New Media Scotland. His writings are published by MIT Press, Oxford University Press, Routledge, ACM and Springer, amongst others.

Header graphics: Giovanni-De-Angelis. Portrait photo of Margherita Pevere: Margarita Kosi.