Smartphone Meditation

Excerpt from the performance "Above&Beyond"

Digital technology has developed at an exponential rate in the past few decades. Our biological development, on the other hand, still evolves at an evolutionary speed rate: Our biological, basic needs are still the same as those of our great-ancestor: the need for intimacy, peace, rest and autonomy is the same today as it was 100 years ago. But we tend to sacrifice these basic needs in the name of technological progression, making ourselves dependent on it without a critical approach as to whether or not it benefits our lives.

We are exposed to a nearly infinite information that was unreachable before. We communicate with each other mostly through social media. We receive and share information at a higher speed. Every status update we read on Facebook, and every tweet or Whatsapp message we get from a friend takes up cognitive resources in our brain, competing with important things such as our short-term memory, our attention span, and alertness.

In “Above&Beyond” we are “reprogramming” the body. Our research involves “upgrading” our multitasking skills and challenging our attention through complex endurance tasks. We observed the image of the exhausted body as a metaphor referring to the gap between the things we have to keep track of in contemporary everyday life, and what our bodies and consciousness are actually designed to handle. Based on attributes of everyday digital life like randomness, speed and that which is instantaneous, 'Above&Beyond' defined a surreal stage language that is Inspired by the 60s sci-fi cinema and hipster culture of the last two decades. Two enigmatic characters are on stage: a scientist and the subject of experimentation, which is neither a human nor a digital/mechanic/virtual being.