Conversations on a Cross Town Algorithm

The National Sculpture Factory in association with Cork Midsummer Festival present Conversations on a Crosstown Algorithm, Live in the Granary Theatre for 3 nights ONLY in December 2022.

Performed by Juan Carlos Cuadrado as Olda Wiser @cuadrado97
and Mathea Hoffmann as Samantha @mathea_magdalena
Dialogues co-written with Jeremy Wade @germanywade
3D animation and technical direction by Bertrand Flanet assisted by Simon(e) Miné
@bertrandflanet @kentakozamine
Sound Design by Lugh O‘Neil @lugh___
Sound compositions by Caroline McCarthy @jackie.donie
Gong arrangements by Mona Ruijs @sound_interventions
Voice over programmer Pietro Bolcato
Installation concept by Celeste Burlina @celesteburlina
Lighting Design by Alan Mooney @alan_irl

The 3D-Theatre Play, Conversations on a Crosstown Algorithm (2022), is the first iteration of new work co-commissioned by National Sculpture Factory and based on a long-term artistic research project commissioned by Berliner Förderprogramm Künstlerische Forschung in 2020/21.

Mathea Hoffmann as Samantha.

The immersive 3D animation uses the traditional three-act structureof a play where the narrative centers around a long conversation between two characters, Samantha & Olda Wizer, performed by Mathea Hoffmann and Juan Carlos Cuadrado. Drawing on a range of psycho-analytical motives which are specific to the characters development, the dialogue is one part of a larger systemic virus. 

Conversations on a Crosstown Algorithm is probing us to reconsider the relationship between nature and technology at a time of simultaneous crises, by means of looking into new forms of queer subjectivity and their entanglements with data economy, artificial intelligence, and identity politics. With references to surveillance architectures and computational networks, the installation is set in a virtual chatroom, at times reminiscent of an abandoned data centre, or an empty casino, in which its queer protagonists find themselves trapped. As archetypical spaces for accumulation and reward through a system of conditioning and reinforcements, the setting calls into question the psychological disorders and malfunctioning processes accelerated by the desiring machines of capitalism. The title of the new work is a quote from the script developed in a collaborative auto-fictional writing process as part of O’Malley’s research fellowship

Conversations on a Crosstown Algorithm

Doireann O’Malley, Conversations on a Crosstown Algorithm, 2022, 3D installation (Co-written by Jeremy Wade, Juan Carlos Cuadrado & Mathea Hoffmann; 3D Design: Bertrand Flanet & Simon(e) Miné; Sound design: Caroline McCarthy; Space design: Celeste Burlina). Artistic research commissioned by Berliner Förderprogramm Künstlerische Forschung; co-commissioned by National Sculpture Factory Ireland; supported by Senate Department for Culture and Europe, Berlin; The Arts Council of Ireland, Visual Arts Bursary Award & Facebook and FSAS New Technology Award.

So, two people are in transit, they are on a long journey, they fall into this healing reciprocation with each other. Waves of back and forth. It is flirtatious, caring, caddy and cathartic. And there was gossip and there was advice and there was crying and there was laughing but somehow that bus was the portal into the other dimension of where they were going to, which was reality, of their work and being of service you know, so like, conversation crosshair circuit dimension virtual something algorithm, conversation on a crosstown algorithm, conversations on a worldly spherical you know, this vagina monologues system’  Juan Carlos Cuadrado.

Berliner Förderprogramm Künstlerische Forschung and BPA// Raum are pleased to co-present two upcoming, concurrent exhibitions by multidisciplinary artist Doireann O’Malley. Both presentations bring together new and existing works, creating a thorough impression of the artist’s practice over the past few years. O’Malley was a participant in BPA// Berlin program for artists 2019/20 and a fellow of Berliner Förderprogramm Künstlerische Forschung 2020/21. In different ways, both programs are dedicated to supporting emerging Berlin-based artistic practice and research. The exhibitions are accompanied by a newly commissioned text by Stanton Taylor.

Doireann O’Malley, Conversations on a Crosstown Algorithm
Opening 9.6.2022, 5–8pm
Berliner Förderprogramm Künstlerische Forschung
Schönleinstr. 5, 10967 Berlin
Opening hours: Friday – Saturday, 2–7pm
Access: Free entry. Our space is accessible by wheelchair.

Doireann O’Malley, Prototype II & III
Opening 11.6.2022, 6–9pm
BPA// Raum
Sophie-Gips-Höfe, Sophienstr. 21, 10178 Berlin
Opening hours: Friday – Saturday, 3–6pm

Prototype II: Institute for the Enrichment of Computer Aided Post Gendered Prototypes, Two screen video installation, 67 minutes with 5.1 Surround sound.

The film was made with a live action role playing improvisational technique where the protagonists used their own material for the dialogues and monologues co-authored by Nika Fontaine, Matejá Hoffmann, Pol Merchan, Nika Pecarina, Elena Schmidt & Rhyannon Styles.

Director of the Institute Co-writer of the games: Jamie Mc Donald, Psycho-analyst: Michaela Wunsch, Assistant: Elliott Cennetoglu. Extras: Lou Drago, Ray Kovalevsky, Pedro Marun, Kristian Vistrup Madsen, Zander Porter, Brody Polinsky, Adel Onodi, Henri Steeg, Leni Wronkowitz

Assistant Director: Divina Kuan, Director of Photography: Albrecht von Grünhagen, Sound Composition by Armin Lorenz Gerold. Production co-ordinator: Jake Flowers, Art Director & Costume Design: Ran Chai Barzvi, Camera Operator: Matan Radin, Sound recording: Manuela Schininà & Manja Ebert, Editing: Gines Olivaros, Sound Editing: Doireann O’Malley, 3D Animation: Brody Condon, 3D Scanning: Olaf Blecker, Sound Mix: Jochen Jezussek, Colour Grading: Delfina Mayer

Prototype III: New Maps of Hyperspace, Virtual Reality work, 10 mins.

New Maps of Hyperspace_Test_01, Virtual Reality, 8-10 minutes, 2020. 

NMHS explores a post-human environment where several abandoned experiments to sustain life, beehives in incubators, 3D models of bodies, plant and insect colonies lie empty. The work is set in a liminal time when humans have vacated the world. All that remains are remnants of corporate research/manufacturing plants, data centers and machines which still contain some consciousness of humans which were uploaded before climate disaster destroyed life. The work dwells on sys- tems theory, climate care, AI consciousness, data mining and the memory of plant consciousness and the knowledges which has been destroyed by Neo-liberal extraction.

Hyperspace is a notion from science fiction of a superluminal method of travel. It is typically described as an alternative “sub-region” of space co-existing with our own universe which may be entered using an energy field or other device. In most fiction, hyperspace is described as a physical place that can be entered and exited. Whereas in the VR work the viewer is essentially trapped in blue screen of death, unable to escape.

The work is a parable on Alan Turing’s technological disembodiment, drawing on concepts from Terrence McKenna’s Hyperspace, an undoing of the matter of consciousness and technologies empty promises of liberation and progress.

For McKenna the dream is “zero time” and “outside of history.” It is analogous to the speculative experience of hy-perspace, a sci-fi term given to the space-time continuum in which it is possible to travel faster than light. In both states, time appears to stand still (Einstein’s theory of relativity tells us that the closer an object travels to the speed of light the slower time becomes). Dreaming can quickly turn to nightmare however, and the episodic repetition of history-as-nightmare can, at times, feel like farcical simulation. Finally this work touches on the yawning gaps between our wish for escape, human connection and approval — and our seemingly Sisyphean task of achieving any of it.

Commissioned by Light Work/Urban Video Project Syracuse, US, National Sculpture Factory Cork, IE.
Berlin Program for Artists, DE.
Kindly supported by Arts Council of Ireland & Berlin Senat Stipend 2019

3D Scanning: Benjamin Busch, Data Conversion: Elinor Hasselberg
3D Artist: Bertrand Flanet, Programers: Felix Kraus & Vladimir Storm.

Sound Design: Caroline McCarthy Voiceover: Amy (Text to Speech)

Special thanks to Steph Holl Trieu, The BeeCoin Project, Haus der Statistik & Floating University.


Zielona Góra Biennale, October 15 – November 15, 2020

Prototypes II: The Institute, 2018, 4K film, double projection with original music by Armin Lorenz Gerold in 5.1 Surround Sound. Image featuring Mathea Magdalena.


Hyperbodies in Hyperspace, BPA at Gropius Bau, October-December 2020

 New Maps of Hyperspace_Test_01, 2020, VR experience

In preparation for their presentation as part of the Berlin Program for Artists at Gropius Studios, Doireann O’Malley has been leading workshops as research for an ongoing virtual reality and performance project: Hyperbodies in Hyperspace. As in previous works, they continue to expand on experiments with collaborative methodologies such as schizoanalysis while introducing movement and therapeutic workshops in order to build characters, content and dramaturgy. The work poses a series of questions regarding our role in what has become the everyday performance of platform capitalism-as-confessional. It also draws on a shift from embodied experience to an unprecedented entanglement with disembodied floating simulacra or avatars. How does a work that is ostensibly AFK (away from the keyboard), and by extension deeply enmeshed in the online world, perform this shift to the digital? To what extent is the production of subjectivity and bodily representation determined by an online corporate environment designed solely for the purposes of data extraction and profit imperatives? How can representational systems like virtual and augmented reality be used for alternative narratives that eclipse corporate ideology and reinstate agency and the complexity that arises from it?  

Hyperbodies in Hyperspace builds an alternative narrative structure based on the premise that the digital has become an extension of our memory and experience. Through this symbiosis, memory becomes glitched and these unforeseen glitches offer an opening to portals of experience yet to be shaped by platform capitalism. Glitched memory thus becomes fragmentary streams of consciousness arising during the waking life of five characters played by Juan-Carlos Cuadrado, Mathea Magdalena, Cian McConn, Elena Schmidt and Sarah Seini. Their dream-like thoughts are exteriorised as hallucination through a series of monologues and scenes set in a post-human environment in which an unspecified disaster has unfolded. An earlier work, the VR piece New Maps of Hyperspace_Test_01 (2020) foregrounds much of this narrative and serves as a technological prop that the performers interact with as part of the performance.

The reality captured by this performance is not dissimilar to the one in which we now find ourselves. Existential daily dalliances with unseen miasma of virus have transformed our lives. Technological symbiosis is becoming more entrenched as we bear witness to the abrupt cancellation of the future AFK. More often than not we find ourselves sitting alone in rooms locked into screens. Imagining a future self calls for a dreaming of the kind Terence McKenna evokes in his essay New Maps of Hyperspace (1989) and from which this work formed the research. For McKenna the dream is “zero time” and “outside of history.” It is analogous to the speculative experience of hyperspace, a sci-fi term given to the space-time continuum in which it is possible to travel faster than light. In both states, time appears to stand still (Einstein’s theory of relativity tells us that the closer an object travels to the speed of light the slower time becomes). Dreaming can quickly turn to nightmare however, and the episodic repetition of history-as-nightmare can, at times, feel like farcical simulation. Finally this work touches on the yawning gaps between our wish for escape, human connection and approval — and our seemingly Sisyphean task of achieving any of it.

This research-led performance has been made possible with the generous support of the BPA, the Berliner Förderprogramm Künstlerische Forschung and the Irish Arts Council.

GIBCA, Göteborgs Konsthall

The Institute, Two Screen Installation, 67 Minutes with 5.1 Surround Sound made by Armin Lorenz Gerold. GIBCA 2019