Randominternational created Zoological specifically for Wayne McGregor’s +- Human dance project, which took place this summer at Roundhouse. Unfortunately I missed the performace, however the ‘Zoological’ blew my mind on its own. As I entered the space I saw a group of visitors gathered in the middle below the building’s copula with white flying balls above their heads. I waited outside the line for my turn to enter the circle, as the white spheres flew back to their base, where Randominternational operatives kept an eye on their work. Encompassed by Mark Pritchard’s mournful composition from his recent album Under The Sun I felt immediately immersed by the dark dreamlike atmosphere of the space.
As the objects launched down again from the control pulpit I was invited in. I could follow the movement of these alien like objects as much as they followed mine. I pondered what ‘makes’ them cluster together and come closer to one individual and not to the other, to then disperse again in a response to a sudden movement. Were they operated or were they using their own intellect? I tried to ‘attract’ them by following them in a calm manner, reaching my hands out at times, and would sometimes notice a lone wolf creeping behind me in a sort of -who is watching who?- game. It happened that during this time a propeller wing was dropped and shortly after one of the balls started descending rapidly, but was quickly caught by a Random International collaborator before touching the ground. I spoke with him briefly about the way the balls are programmed. He revealed that the algorithms enable them to make independent judgments, meaning the machines would only come closer to someone they ‘trust’, to protect themselves from damage. So their inner motives ruled their ‘fly not fight’ resolution…
This was by no means an attempt to show off technological advancements as nothing new was indeed being tried out there. Rather, as title could suggest, it was an invitation to engage in an interaction with the machines, gain their trust, get a closer look, perhaps even see their human side, seeing their human creators behind them and appreciate their own ‘logic’. Go further, widen the perspective and contemplate on how do and could we approach other beings that appear so alien to us…
Created in response to the magnificent space of the Roundhouse +/- Human brings together multi award-winning choreographer and director, Wayne McGregor, with contemporary art collective Random International, creators of the globally successful Rain Room, along with new music from iconic electronic music label, Warp Records.
+/- Human is brought to you by Bloomberg Summer at the Roundhouse, an annual season dedicated to introducing new audiences to innovative culture.
How do you know that something is alive? Created specifically for +/- Human, Random International’s Zoological is a mysterious flock of flying spheres that surrounds visitors. Step inside and experience how they interact with humans and move together in this meeting of technology, bodies and electronic music composed by Mark Pritchard.
On Friday and Saturday nights, +/- Human will host new dance performances choreographed by Wayne McGregor. Lurching through extreme sonic worlds specially created by Warp Records artists including Clark, Gaika, Mark Pritchard and Lorenzo Senni, the spheres’ behaviour will converge with human movement to create an immersive choreographic experience. Performed by dancers from Company Wayne McGregor and The Royal Ballet.
Commissioned by the Roundhouse, with support from THE ROYAL BALLET, +/- Human is curated by WAYNE McGREGOR, Zoological art installation by RANDOM INTERNATIONAL, lighting by LUCY CARTER, sound by MARKPRITCHARD, dance performances choreographed by WAYNE McGREGOR and performed by COMPANY WAYNE McGREGOR and dancers from THE ROYAL BALLET, music by WARP RECORDS.