AN IMAGINARY SYMPOSIUM (2018)
An Imaginary Symposium is a live experiment on common thinking. Bringing together ancient Greek modes of sociability and artificial intelligence, it attempts to reactivate how we reflect and imagine in common. An algorithm projects absurd sentences on stage, randomly combining words out of books about social imaginaries. Inspired by these sentences, the participants of the symposium decide, each time anew, on the topic of their discussion. Starting point of An Imaginary Symposium is the ancient Greek symposium as the archetypal form of sharing knowledge and creating discourses in the Western world. The symposium used to be a party of some kind, a social gathering where people met to drink, eat and discuss issues of shared concern. Today, the term relates more to an authorization or even commercialization of knowledge. An Imaginary Symposium comments on current uses of the symposium by focusing on the performativity of thought. Shifting the attention from ’innovative’ content to commons and the live practice of thinking, it seeks to create the conditions for conceiving visions of our present and future collectively. An Imaginary Symposium meets its audience in two distinct but nevertheless related forms: a theatre piece (stage version) and an interactive piece performed by all audience members (participatory version). In the participatory version, ten audience members and two performers/assistants are guided step-by-step by Kate (an algorithmic voice) in order to create their own Symposium on the spot.