The idea of transmedia storytelling originated in the corporate world in recent decades as a strategy for articulating a single narrative across multiple formats, primarily to inspire consumption of commercial products. Domain is a transmedia performance that hijacks this method to engage people directly with a hopeful contemporary myth about a future where artificial intelligence meets our biological imperative for immortality. Presented via interactive installation, live theatrical presentation, text message, and web platforms (where we are doing more and more of our intimate daily living), the piece follows self-taught hacker Jonah Silva, whose successful realization of ANNI, the first advanced artificial intelligence, coincides with her contracting a mysterious terminal illness.
The online portion of the performance, which we propose to create during the residency, is a web archive containing an extensive—yet ultimately incomplete—record of Jonah’s life and apparent death through all the seemingly mundane digital artifacts and footprints she left scattered across the internet: social media accounts, forum posts, video logs, surveillance data, and documentation of her technical and philosophical research. As viewers follow the hyperlink trails delineating Jonah’s existence (and suggesting she may live on thanks to her fantastic invention), the heart of a narrative gradually unfolds exploring the possibility of new post-human paradigms of legacy, love, sentience, and death.
ARCOS is a collective based in Austin, Texas, that experiments rigorously to discover adventurous new forms of contemporary performance. Their work is inspired by questioning dominant understandings of the world, turbulent processes of traditions in flux, and the complexity of humanity’s relationship with our technologies. ARCOS receives grants and invitations from foundations, universities, private artist residencies, and festivals to create and present its award-winning performances.