A Solo Performance and Video Installation
by Colette Sadler with Mikko Gaestel
ARK 1 is a multimedia installation composed and directed by the Berlin-based Scottish artist and choreographer Colette Sadler. Comprised of a live solo performance within a video installation made in collaboration with Mikko Gaestel, ARK 1 explores the precarious futures of human culture amid the life-altering interventions of artificial intelligence and ecological crisis. The video establishes a science fictional narrative to which a dancer responds: set in the future, a fictitious bio-technology corporation VESSELS INC created the spaceship “ARK 1” to preserve the distant memory of human life. As Earth’s resources became depleted and its ecosystems threatened human extinction, VESSELS INC launched ARK 1 into deep space, equipped with the technology for sustaining artificial life. Onboard, an algorithm digitally reconstructed the dancer Leah Marojevic to preserve the muscle memory of human experience. Halfway through the film, Marojevic appears live to perform as the humanoid specimen against the video installation’s virtual backdrop. The live dimension of the performance collapses the temporal distance between our pandemic present and the video’s post-catastrophic future; its simulated world emerges and is embodied through the dancer’s uncanny movements.
The multimedia scenography of ARK 1 proposes an archaeology of the future that questions: how will the history of humanity be archived, remembered, and technologically retrieved in the aftermath of coming catastrophes? Through Sadler’s deliberate use of technology and science fiction across performance and film, ARK 1 is aligned with contemporary art practices that speculate on the post-human condition, artificial intelligence, and the future of the archive. The animation and 3D aesthetics employed in the video evoke current modes of techno-scientific visualization, while the video immerses viewers into simulated architectures of churches, libraries, and museums—the repositories of human civilization. As Marojevic performs a creaturely choreography of machinic movements, she voices a text that Sadler composed using artificial intelligence software, whose poetic character belies its algorithmic origin. From its standpoint in an imagined future, ARK 1 reconstructs the bodily proof of human existence in the aftermath of catastrophe, as its post-human performer gestures towards humanity’s next destination.
Text: Carlos Kong
Original Concept: Colette Sadler and Mikko Gaestel
Choreography, Text & Video: Colette Sadler
Performance: Leah Marojevic
Video & Installation Design: Mikko Gaestel
Sound: Samir Kennedy, Heiko Tubbesing & Colin Self
3D Animation: Alexander Pannier
Dramatury: Alan McKendrick
Costume: Eyal Meistel & Zoe Sebanyiga
ARK 1 is funded by Nationale Performance Netz “Stepping Out” Fund and Creative Scotland. Residency support from Tanz Haus NRW, Fabrik Potsdam and TWR Glasgow.