NOTICE: The Schubert Theater is closed in july & august and during holidays (Christmas/New Year, Easter holidays etc.). DVD orders will be send to you afterwards.
Running time approx. 120 minutes, with english subtitles and bonus material.
Available… … in the Schubert Theater Vienna, Währinger Straße 46, 1090 Vienna (open on every performance day) … at all performances by F.Zawrel, or … by bank transfer: € 25 + € 7 shipping within Austria, + € 9 shipping within the EU to the account Schubert Theater Vienna: IBAN AT17 1400 0024 1006 9230 BIC BAWAATWW with note “DVD Zawrel” and your delivery address!
2023 “Virtual Reality Circus Varieté”
Director Simon Meusburger and VR specialist Olivier Schaffer have brought the best scenes of the magical puppet theater variety show into a new dimension: In a unique combination of contemporary circus arts and puppet theater, four poetic, enchanting and humorous stories are created in a virtual reality variety show.
2022 VR-Cooperation with Echtzeitkunstwelt Echtzeitkunstwelt experiments with the permeability of perceptions between real and artificial worlds with inside and outside observations, sensory perceptions and resonances. Echtzeitkunstwelt is an online, multiplayer framework in VR (virtual reality). The concept is to incorporate the respective (real) art environments on site. In the interplay of different art forms (puppet theater, music, dance, visual arts…) we explore the possibilities of performance and liveness in digital space.
2021 “Virtual Puppet Museum”
Together with the media artists Ilkhan Selkuc and Mathias Hradecsni, we developed a digital replica of our foyer, through which you can enter specially designed virtual rooms where you can get to know our productions and characters better. The museum is regularly expanded and serves as a platform for encounters as well as an interactive archive. The museum was presented at the Performing Arts & Digitality Festival 2022 in Darmstadt.
2021 “May.BE 2.0”
Plagued by lockdowns and postponements of time, we decided to rescue a premiere into the digital space and show it in our newly built Virtual Puppet Museum on Mozilla Hubs.
2019-2022 “Project Pinocchio – the tale of artificial intelligence”(ended)
In this new interpretation of the classic by Carl Collodi, the piece of wood is replaced by a robot, and three scientists upload the classic fairy tale as a final test for its consciousness. The text was largely developed using the GPT2 language model. The production is unfortunately not shown anymore, but you can get to know the modern fairy tale in our Virtual Puppet Museum and watch an excerpt in VR.
2023 is the 10th anniversary of the death of Aaron Swartz, one of the greatest visionaries of the internet, political activist, hacktivist, Reddit co-founder and advocate of the open access movement. As a tribute, Renate Kreil of ACOnet | net:art coordination centre has called on artists of various disciplines to engage with his life and work from different perspectives in the project series “aaron’s law”. Here we present the resulting projects and collaborations of the Schubert Theatre.
Links: The internet’s own boy – The Story of Aaron Swartz (documentation by Brian Knappenberger, 2014) aarons law –An artistic-technical project series 2023, initiated by the net:art coordination center INSIGHT:Aaron – Mozilla Hubs room at Virtual Puppet Museum (desktop and VR) MEET:Aaron – Spaziergang für die Figur (outdoor station theater summer 2023 with AR) LISTEN TO:Aaron – AR installation with AI-animated video and AI-generated voice of Aaron (Ars Electronica 2023 and permanent at Schubert Theater to see)
Aaron Swartz at the Schubert Theatre Vienna
New technologies and digital art have always had a place in our puppet theatre, be it in the technical equipment, for stage and puppet design or directly in the artistic realisation with an AI as authorship or projects for digital space. In this respect, it is very natural for us to also deal with people, works and actions around these topics in terms of content. But at the latest in 2021 with our digital advance of puppets, we realised how many barriers there are between young digital theatre art and the audience. Both adult puppet theatre and digital theatre are fraught with prejudice. At first glance, puppet theatre is labelled as childish and unserious, and digital theatre is condemned as complicated and “ersatz”. Yet we know that the world and society are in a constant state of change, and in the best case scenario, change must be led by people, not corporations. A quote from Aaron Swartz struck a nerve with us and made us curious:
“Growing up, I slowly had this process of realizing that all the things around me that people had told me were just the natural way things were, the way things always would be, they weren’t natural at all. They were things that could be changed, and they were things that, more importantly, were wrong and should change, and once I realized that, there was really no going back.” – Aaron Swartz
Who was Aaron Swartz?
Even during his lifetime, Aaron Swartz was called a genius. A prodigy whose input helped shape the results of various development teams that we still use today as a matter of course. As co-founder of the social news website Reddit, he championed the socio-political importance of the web, among other things. As technical developer of the Creative Commons team, he worked on the implementation of free licenses (“some rights reserved”), which are now used by the creators of more than 400 million works. Aaron Swartz was aware of the immense importance of the words open access, open source and net neutrality for the creative development of art as well as science. With the use of any new technical achievement, the socio-political consequences should be discussed at the same time. For Aaron Swartz, this was a natural way of thinking, which can be read out strongly in his Guerrilla Open Access Manifesto written in 2008.
As active and connected as he was, his suicide in 2013 at just 26 years old hit his followers all the harder: accused of stealing 4.8 million scientific articles and threatened with a 50-year prison sentence and a $1 million fine, the hacktivist, already physically and mentally battered, saw no other way out. The extremely harsh approach of the prosecution, which wanted to criminalize hacktivism once and for all with this case, was perceived by many as a “battle of David against Goliath” and strongly condemned. It is speculated that Swartz was engaged in a research about institutional corruption at the time of the download. However, it was not at MIT, whose server he had used to download, but at Harvard University’s Center for Ethics, whose director at the time was constitutional law scholar and good friend of Swartz Lawrence Lessig. He said in a 2017 interview about Aaron Swartz, “He taught me some good things and some bad things. He taught me to live a life committed to integrity. He had a coherent idea of what his role was and what his goal was. But the most dramatic lesson he taught me was the vicious cruelty of suicide.”
By merging figure theater and digital art, director Lisa Zingerle and initiator of the Year of Remembrance for Aaron Swartz Renate Kreil of Net:Art are convinced not only to show an appropriate tribute to him, but also, in the spirit of Aaron, to connect people from different worlds. Thus, in cooperation with Renate Kreil of net:art, artists* and concepts were sought to deal with the person and work of Aaron Swartz in the 10th year of his death in 2023. All projects as well as a collection of literature can be viewed on the website netart.cc.
Finally, interested and committed artists were found to develop a digital museum space (which can also be experienced in VR), an installation as well as an AR installation for and about Aaron Swartz in the 10th year of his death together with the Schubert Theater.
The projects: Metamorphosis
The Transformation of a Puppet: what started as a bust, became a VR museum space and AR theater station, and finally became an AR artifact in the Artificial Museum.
Aaron Swartz X Schubert Theater Wien 1: INSIGHT:AARON (virtual puppet museum, Mozilla Hubs, Februar 2023)
In a collaboration between media artist Ilkhan Selcuk and puppet designer Annemarie Arzberger, under the direction of Lisa Zingerle, a Mozilla Hubs space was created to showcase the person and work of Aaron Swartz.
The Mozilla project was born in 1998 and was intended to unleash the creative power of thousands of programmers on the Internet and lead to an unprecedented level in the browser market. Mozilla’s Mixed Reality team launched the “Hubs” project in 2018 as a new, experimental and open platform for virtual meetings.
Many of Swartz’s visions for better information sharing across borders and classes can be found in his Guerilla Open Access Manifesto, written back in 2008, which can be heard and read in a 3D model of his head. On the digital path there, accompanied by music and video excerpts, one learns about various stations in Swartz’s young life as well as milestones in the development of the Internet. You can listen to one of his favourite songs, read excerpts from his personal blog, or climb over a mountain of his favourite books. His activism and projects are also presented, and excerpts from the documentary “An Internet’s own boy” are shown, which also deals with his death in 2013.
Aaron Swartz X Schubert Theater Wien 2:
MEET:AARON (A walk for the figure – Ahead of times / Spaziergang für die Figur – Der Zeit voraus, Juni & August 2023)
At the annual outdoor station theater “Walk for the Figure” 2023 we take on visionaries*, pioneers* and dreamers*. What would our world be without the constant human drive for research, progress and improvement? Some experiments have failed, some companies have gone bankrupt, or the mere idea has already been ridiculed, mocked or even sued. But they were just ahead of their time…
We dive into five exciting biographies of the 19th and 20th centuries that shape our here and now: from the dream of an electrified city and the nightmare of a dystopian end of mankind due to climate catastrophes, to a film production house for strong female characters and Vienna’s first woman Kommerzialrat, to the information war of modern times via Internet browsers and whistleblowers. The latter station is dedicated to visionary Aaron Swartz.
“Information is power” introduces the Guerrilla Open Access Manifesto written by programmer Aaron Swartz in 2008, in which the hacktivist advocated free access to information. The manifesto is performed by the actors Markus-Peter Gössler, Soffi Povo and Angelo Konzett and underlinded by a soundscape from Simon Meusburger. In the process, the audience moves around a digital AR bust of Aaron Swartz, designed by visual artist Annemarie Arzberger and transformed as an augmented reality object by media artist Litto and coder Jascha Ehrenreich. This was made possible by Schubert Theater’s first collaboration with the Artificial Museum, led by Litto and Jascha Ehrenreich.
Walk for the Figure has been shown every weekend in June in Vienna and is also invited to the Hin&Weg theater festival in Litschau in August.
Aaron Swartz X Schubert Theater Wien 3: LISTEN TO:Aaron (Juli 2023 ongoing)
The Artificial Museum sees its mission as “creating, sourcing, researching, disseminating, and preserving art in public spaces.” Indeed, there are too many works of art to display each one all the time, and new art forms like digital arts have some hurdles to overcome in mainstream museum culture. Moreover, the museum, like many other art and cultural venues, has also lost audiences. This is precisely what the Artificial Museum is challenging: as a challenge to the status quo, they want to operate between worlds and define a new museum audience. To do so, they bring together three important components: “We’re timeless, we have infinite space, and we’re always open to the public.” And they are proven right: Over 200 artists* and collaborative partners* have already worked for and with them.
The artifacts, as the Artificial Museum’s artworks are called, can be admired in augmented reality (AR), a virtual extension of reality with three-dimensional and real-time interactive elements. These are displayed to the public via AR apps, and can be viewed using the smartphone or tablet’s internal camera as if they were part of the real world that surrounds you. What we want to extend or equip our reality with thus becomes visible on the screen.
The three-dimensionality also makes it possible to interact with the object. You can walk around it, walk through it, or even, and especially nice, walk into it. The world becomes an AR adventure that can be entered barrier-free via the website or via QR code. Those who are not directly on site get to see a reduced preview version.
In a first collaboration with Litto, artistic director of the museum, and Jascha Ehrenreich, programmer of the museum as well as Aaron Swartz enthusiast of the first hour, the artifact – the Aaron bust – was 3D scanned again and digitally located in the courtyard of the Schubert Theater. Simon Meusburger composed a soundscape for the digital performance with sounds of book pages being turned, as well as technical beeps and signal tones.
In another joint realization with Hideo Snés, who deals with AI in his artistic work, Aaron narrates his manifesto himself: AI is used to recreate Aaron’s voice and speech patterns. It is his own voice, but it is also not his own voice – because it is first broken down into its individual parts and then reassembled. This creates a different imprint, a different artifact of him, which nevertheless allows us to immerse ourselves more personally in his world than a previously common TTS voice, which dispenses entirely with speech melody or even speech patterns. The text is not only heard, but animated on Aaron’s face by Litto using two AIs, Face Capture and Deep Data, so that he can recite his manifesto alive. Jascha Ehrenreich, as Poet of Code, puts everything on the platform. The work was presented for the first time at Ars Electronica 2023.