In 2016 AlphaGo, a deep neural network developed by Google’s Deepmind, challenges the world champion of Go, Lee Sedol. Go is the oldest board game in the world and despite its simple appearance, the number of possible board positions in a Go game exceeds the amount of atoms in the universe. It is won by the presumed exclusively human skills of intuition and creativity, so no one expects a computer to be able to beat a human player. But the implausible happens: AlphaGo beats Sedol 4 – 1 and hits the front page of Nature.
AlphaGo’s 37th move in the second game is crucial and hits like a bomb. The computer comes up with a solution no human being could have imagined, Sedol leaves his chair and returns pale as a ghost. The live commentators fall silent and the image seems to freeze. In this moment of defeat and wonder the radical weirdness of AI stares us in the face: highly intelligent, creative but also completely alien.
In ‘Move 37’, Thomas Ryckewaert takes this moment as the starting point for a lecture performance about phenomena that are beyond human imagination. With cosmologist Thomas Hertog he presents an unusual lecture performance on the radically weird. They join on a trip through the dark, cool horror of the intelligent machine, the beauty of fading conventions on what is human at all, through time and space warped in black holes. In this lecture performance nothing is what it seems, human becomes alien, the computer intuitive, perception is deceived and the robot dreams.
- Direction & Script Thomas Ryckewaert
- Texts & performance Thomas Hertog, Thomas Ryckewaert
- Dramaturgy Kristof Van Baarle
- Scenography Erki De Vries
- Light design Giacomo Gorini
- Light technician Janneke Donkersloot
- Sound Jürgen Deblonde
- Video Paul Van Caudenberg
- Director’s assistant Sibran Sampers
- Production Charlotte Cornelissen
- Management Karen Feys
- Coproducers Platform 0090, Instituut voor Theoretische Fysica (KULeuven), deSingel Internationale Kunstcampus, Het Laatste Bedrijf
- Thanks to WP Zimmer, BUDA
- This show was made possible with the support of the Tax Shelter measure from the Belgian Federal Government, Gallop Tax Shelter and the Flemish Government
According to Jewish legend, a golem is a figure made from dust or clay by a man of learning and brought to life by means of a ritual incantation. The golem was intended as an assistant to its human creator, as a companion or protector of the latter’s threatened community. But the experiment gets out of hand, and the creature turns against its creator.
Ask any sculptor; to recast even the dullest object is to celebrate it.– Tom McCarthy, Satin Island
This myth of artificial life underlies Thomas Ryckewaert’s latest creation. It is a tale of ambition, creativity, power, creation, madness and destruction. It is a theme that touches upon the age-old fear of creating something that surpasses us: from the Bible via Frankenstein to the ghost of artificial intelligence. It is a story that raises the same question in every age: how deep can we dig?
Using a silent cinematic visual language, Golem balances on the thin line between man and matter, reason and fear. Face to face with a figure that looks a lot like man, but is at the same time radically different, a mirror is held up. He sees monsters being born in things, in the other, in himself.
From his generation, Ryckewaert is one of the most intelligent and theatrical talented makers, ready for the really big stage. – Wouter Hillaert, De Standaard
09.12.2016 – 10.12.2016, De Singel, Antwerpen – PREMIERE
14.12.2016, Vooruit, Gent
02.02.2017, De Warande, Turnhout
10.02.2017 – 11.02.2017, Brakke Grond, Amsterdam
15.02.2017, Kaaitheater, Brussels
- Scenario & direction: Thomas Ryckewaert
- Cast: Tina Breiova, Efrat Galai, Rosie Sommers, Jef Stevens & Kurt Vandendriessche
- Scenography: Erki De Vries
- Light: Giacomo Gorini
- Sound: Senjan Jansen
- Costumes: Andrea Kränzlin
- Assistant director: Sibran Sampers
- Assistant scenography: Maia Anastasiou
- Production: Wolff vzw / Hiros
- Coproduction: deSingel (Antwerp), Kaaitheater (Brussels), Vooruit (Ghent), TAKT Dommelhof (Neerpelt),
- Platform 0090 (Antwerp)
- In collaboration with: Kunstencentrum BUDA (Kortrijk), WP Zimmer (Antwerp)
- With the support of: The Flemish Community, the City of Antwerp
Genesis (I, II, III)
A cruel and confusing place, where the banished man finds refuge. Where he is confronted with forces that are beyond his understanding. At times it rains fire and brimstone, at times only drops of water, but weeks at a time, until everything has been engulfed. There is nothing as confusing, however, as the forces he discovers in himself: jealousy, desire, bloodlust. But the most ungraspable feeling of all is love.
In his latest production, Thomas Ryckewaert takes on one of the most paradoxical masterpieces of world literature: Genesis, the first book of the Bible. A play about our lifelong attempt to control the chaos.
This production is the third part of a triptych in which this poetic and shocking work is explored from several perspectives. Genesis (I) – Science introduces the audience to the knowledge of philosophers, theologians and Bible translators. Genesis (II) – Religion is a celebration of the Eucharist directed by Ryckewaert. Church- and theatre-goers are the joint witnesses of a 2000-year-old ritual that has been subtly amended in a composition made up of light, sound, song, text and silence. In Genesis (III) – Theater, Ryckewaert stages his version of the Book of Genesis. In search of a contemporary ritual.
In Genesis (I, II, III) Ryckewaert successively directs the scientist, the priest and the actor. A quest for the source of theatre, for the essence of ritual. Is liturgy theatre? Is theatre liturgy?
In fact I believe nothing,
And I doubt everything, even You.
But sometimes, when I feel You really do exist,
Then I feel that You are Love, and that You are lonely,
And that, sharing my despair, You seek me
Just as I seek You.
19.10.2013, Vooruit, Gent – PREMIERE
15.02.2014, De Warande, Turnhout
25.02.2014, Toneelhuis, Antwerpen
22.03.2014, STUK, Leuven
27.05.2014, Théâtre La Balsamine, Brussels
28.05.2014, Théâtre La Balsamine, Brussels
31.05.2014, Théâtre La Balsamine, Brussels
Concept, scenario & direction: Thomas Ryckewaert
With: Eleanor Campbell, Lieven Demecheleer, Emma Polen, Diane Reiners, Sid Van Oerle, Robbe Vergauwen, Silke Verslype
Setdesign and Costumes: Bert Gillet
Soundtrack: Peter Lenaerts
Sound Technician: Carlos Senraromero
Light: Luc Schaltin
Dramaturgy: Marnix Rummens
Assistance direction: Tineke De Meyer
Production: Margarita Production
Coproduction: Vooruit, Théâtre de la Balsamine
In cooperation with STUK, BUDA, WP Zimmer
With the support of: De Vlaamse Overheid, Provincie Antwerpen
For the credits of Genesis (I & II) / performance, check out the pressfile.
She’s at home. Alone. Outside the world is raging. Inside everything is quiet. She thinks she’s unobserved. At this place, at this hour, during her daily routine, her wildest fantasies, most intense desires, deepest fears grow. Time is ticking.
Portrait; the breathless midpoint of an unknown story. A desolate portrait. A deceptive still life.
19.01.2012 – 21.01.2012, Monty, Antwerp – PREMIERE
26.01.2012 – 27.01.2012, Beursschouwburg, Brussels
08.02.2012, Toneelhuis, Antwerpen
10.02.2012, Malpertuis, Tielt
16.02.2012, De Warande, Turnhout
29.02.2012, 20:30, Gent
06.03.2012 – 07.03.2012, STUK, Leuven
Concept Thomas Ryckewaert & Erki De Vries
Written & Directed by Thomas Ryckewaert
Cast Erika Sainte
Scenography Erki De Vries
Sound Tim Vets
Song Composed, performed and produced Tim Vets
Light design Giacomo Gorini
Costumes Bert Gillet
Assistance Scenography: Anton Boon, Emile Duyck (internship)
Technical assistance Bern Van Deun
Production assistance: Evelien Stichelmeyer
Production Margarita Production for Wolff vzw
Coproduction Monty (Antwerp), Beursschouwburg (Brussels), STUK (Leuven), Champ d’Action (Antwerp), detheatermaker (Antwerp)
In cooperation with BUDA (Kortrijk), Troubleyn/Jan Fabre (Antwerp), DeVIR/CAPa (Portugal)
With the support of the Flemish Government & Stad Antwerpen
Made in Troubleyn/Laboratorium & Monty (Antwerp)
The human species is put in an environment stripped off from its usual context. It finds itself in a white, clinical and ever-transforming universe, manipulated by forces and creatures difficult to fathom.
Homo sapiens. What does he seek? What are his fears? What his dreams? How does he fill up the time between cradle and grave? How does he cope with the blind and senseless environment around him?
Homo sapiens by Wolff is an attempt to give shape to the mystery of our species. Sound, scenography and light blend together to form a wordless stage trip not to be forgotten.
Homo sapiens is the third part of Darwintrilogy, a triptych of science, exposition and stage experience as a result of the 2009 Darwin Year.
More about Darwintrilogy: In Part I (Science), six renowned scientists from different backgrounds (cosmology, evolutionary biology, neurosurgery, geology, moral philosophy and artificial intelligence) were invited to give a lecture on the influence Darwin’s theory had and still has on their specific domain. Part I was concluded by a debate between these scientists on the topic ‘How far does Darwins arm reach?’ In Part II (Installation) the content of the scientific lectures were used as a basis to work on an installation which, at the same time, was a start for the scenographical research for Part III (Stage: Homo sapiens).
- 14.01.2010 – 16.01.2010, Monty, Antwerp
- 21.01.2010, De Warande, Turnhout
- 23.01.2010, KAAP | De Werf, Brugge
Directed by Thomas Ryckewaert, Daphné Verhelst
With Anton Boon, Lieven Demecheleer, Werner Nigg, Pascal Maetens, Joke Raes, Diane Reiners, Flo Steeno, Thomas Verstraeten
Scenography Erki De Vries
Sound design Tim Vets
Light design Brian Broeders, Erki De Vries
Costumes Joke Raes
Masks Freija Van Esbroeck
Technical assistance Anton Boon, Katrien Pauwels
Production manager & dramaturg Marlies Vanhoucke
Executive producer Monty
Diffusion Margarita Production
more info www.wolffvzw.be
This is a lab of the human species, the homo sapiens isolated from its natural habitat. But above all, this is art. Existential science like the plays by Beckett: the uncertainty principle of our existence transformed into esthetics, offered by Ryckewaert through a peekhole. – Rekto:Verso
Before graduating at the Institute of Dramatic Arts (Antwerp Conservatory), Thomas Ryckewaert (Kortrijk, 1979) studied biology at the KULeuven. Today, his scientific background nourishes his creations. After intensive research periods, he sculpts his findings into visual, almost cinematic theater.
Thomas’ work balances on the borders between theatre, dance and installation. He explores the relationship between the alien and the human, the weird and the intimate, biology and technology, reality and fiction. His work has been described as poetical, radical, visual and ritual.
What does the non-human – whether it is biological, inanimate or technological – teach us about being human? What kind of shifts occur when we introduce an alien agency into our habitat? What is our place in a post-human universe? What does it mean to be human in an environment that is radically transforming at an exponential rate?
His most recent works include Golem (2016) and Move 37 (2019) and are often an exploration into the relationship between art and science, a relationship that reflects the tension between the abstract level on which technology operates and the tangible plane of human emotions. On Golem, press wrote: ‘A magnetizing universe, a hypnotic tunnel. Ryckewaert is one of the most intelligent and theatrically skilled directors of his generation, ready for the big stage.’ On Move 37: ‘Not just your average lecture performance, but a David Lynch movie of sorts – in which inexplicable things create a permanent friction between the normal and the radically weird. Fascinating.’
As a freelance actor he frequently works for theatre, film and television. He is a regular guest professor at P.A.R.T.S.
Management theater creations: Karen Feys firstname.lastname@example.org
Acting agent: Gwen Maduro email@example.com