HUMINID

In HUMINID we are addressed directly by a creature that can be called part human and part doll: halfway between human and thing, halfway between life and death. Is it a human that wants to become a doll/thing or rather the reverse? In his Faust II (1832) Goethe describes how Mephistopheles and his helper Wagner bring a small artificial being to life in a phial (a flask). The Huminid shown here is simultaneously both flask and being, womb and embryo. He is made of dead matter, is a not‐anything, but his heart beats and he breathes. He is still unfinished. He grows inside his pod, he wants to ‘be’, but at the same time there is the knowledge that he is not viable outside the flask. He talks ceaselessly. He exists only in language. The actor Johan Leysen is not physically present, but has lent his voice and face for this piece. The script of Huminid was inspired by Samuel Beckett’s Lessness.

HUMINID is part of ACTOR #1. The artist and theatre-maker Kris Verdonck quite often combines his fascination with machines with images and concepts that owe a lot to science fiction. This certainly applies to the three-part ACTOR #1 (MASS, HUMINID, DANCER #3 + epilogue by Jean-Paul van Bendegem). ACTOR #1 is about evolving: about what has come into being, what is, and what may come into being. Three variations on the metamorphosis from chaos to order. The three parts of the performance are shown in separate rooms.

« Verdonck shows us how a machine can move us and how soon we attribute human qualities to it. ... On the question of creation, this three-part performance offers us a robust concept. In fact, in ACTOR #1, Verdonck brings a debate to the stage, one that goes beyond our creation: is theatre possible without people? Verdonck visually substantiates the gravity attached to this concept. »
Sarah Vankersschaever in De Standaard, 19/01/2010

« In his piece ACTOR #1 (****), Kris Verdonck shows up the limits of man and machine. ... In a certain sense ACTOR #1 depicts this quest for a new sort of life: from the swirling gases in MASS to the half-animate puppet in HUMINID or the robot in DANCER #3. After this last piece you know it for sure: we shall never have access to the 'mental world' of these machines or of natural processes. We can only stand and watch. »
Pieter T'Jonck in de Morgen, 21/01/2010
Concept & direction: Kris Verdonck
Dramaturgy: Marianne Van Kerkhoven (Kaaitheater)
Performers (on film): Johan Leysen, Jean Paul Van Bendegem
Construction: Sylvain Spinoit, Atelier 26, Steven Blum
Software & Electronics: Felix Luque
Sound design: Thomas Turine
Video: Vincent Pinckaers
Light design: Luc Schaltin (Kaaitheater), Kris Verdonck
Production manager: Hendrik De Smedt
Production: Margarita Production for stilllab vzw
Technical coordination: Colin Legras
Coproducers: Kaaitheater (BE), Kunstencentrum Vooruit (BE), Buda Kunstencentrum (BE), Le manège.mons/CECN (BE), Transdigital/TechnocITé (BE)
Project initiated by: La Chartreuse (FR) in the frame of its research on robots and theatre
Scientific research: Jean-Jacques Cassiman, Dirk De Ridder, Philippe Fraisse, Jean Paul Van Bendegem, Dirk Van Hulle
With the support of: the Flemish Authorities
Thanks to: Atelier 26, Acapella digital voice, Arne Vanneste, LIRMM (FR), Luc Steels
  • HUMINID - © A Two Dogs Company
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