Homo Instrumentalis (2017)

Homo Instrumentalis is a multimedia performance about man and machine. Extraordinary song, mechanical dance and overwhelming video, transport you through the ages in seven- league boots. From the pure music of ancient Greece to cyber art in which the human voice is replaced by electronics.

Do we really control technology, or does it control us? Homo Instrumentalis brings together four compositions exploring our relationship with technology: Machinations by Georges Aperghis (2000/2017), La fabbrica illuminata by Luigi Nono (1964) and Ode to Man (part 1 and 2, 2017) by Yannis Kyriakides. We hear admiration for human ingenuity, fear of industrial machinery, as well as satisfaction with the conveniences of the digital world.

With Homo Instrumentalis Silbersee challenges contemporary composers to respond to major works from our recent musical heritage. This line started with Kopernikus (2014) and was continued with Avventure di anima e di corpo (2018).

“How do they do it? How have these performers memorised 90 minutes of such extraordinary complexity, how have they metabolised it into this one flawless, organic whole? Silbersee’s performance seems beyond human, and perhaps that is part of the point. (...) Homo Instrumentalis is not for the faint-hearted, but it is a phenomenal achievement.” Financial Times ★★★★

“The second chapter reminds of a factory insurrection, loaded with beautiful images and body sculptures while the activistic texts of Nono’s blistering electronic collage appear on large projection screens. It ends with a consoling, beautifully sung solo by Eléonore Lemaire.” NRC Handelsblad

“It is delightful, captivating to see and sometimes also moving, what these four singers and four dancers accomplish, their vocal and corporal acrobatics, the smooth, elegant way they join together. The textual montage by the French philosopher François Regnault is enthralling as well, without necessarily being fully comprehensible. The many run-ups, the odd chain reactions and fragmentations, the pulling and pushing, the yearning for group and pair constellations, the even greater desire for individuality is contemporary even if it contains many reminiscences of Samuel Beckett.” Die Deutsche Bühne

performers Fanny Alofs (alto), Miguel Angél Gaspar (dance), Jennifer Claire van der Hart (colloratura soprano), Eléonore Lemaire (soprano), Jorge Morro (dance), Carl Refos (dance), Michaela Riener (soprano / mezzo soprano), Johanne Saunier (dance), Wouter Snoei (live electronics) | musical direction Romain Bischoff | choreography Johanne Saunier | video Frederik Jassogne, Bart Moens (Hangaar)| lighting and stage design Floriaan Ganzevoort (De Theatermachine) | costume design Dieuweke van Reij | dramaturgical advice Wout van Tongeren.

Homo Instrumentalis is supported by Performing Arts Fund NL, Amsterdam Fund for the Arts, Ammodo. With special thanks to Ircam (Parijs) for the development of the electronics for Machinations.

For more information about this production, please contact Jimmy-Pierre de Graaf.