A human-appearing digital avatar with light skin, light eyes, bald head, in front of a blue computer-screen background

Eight Algorithms for Awakening

Aug 20, 2022 to Aug 27, 2022
Kenneth Collins
Directed by: 
Kenneth Collins
David Thayer Theatre, UI Theatre Building
Saturday, August 20, 2022 - 7:00pm to 10:00pm
Sunday, August 21, 2022 - 7:00pm to 10:00pm
Thursday, August 25, 2022 - 7:00pm to 10:00pm
Friday, August 26, 2022 - 7:00pm to 10:00pm
Saturday, August 27, 2022 - 5:00pm to 8:00pm

Eight Algorithms for Awakening is an interdisciplinary, performance-art project in which digital avatars and human bodies share the stage in an unlikely exploration of expanded consciousness. Inspired by Ray Kurzweil’s book The Age of Spiritual Machines, this performance traverses the territory “where the soul and silicon chip unite.”

On the edge of the coming singularity, this project speculates about what will happen when Artificial Intelligence is introduced to millennia-old, ancient-wisdom teachings. Will these new AI digital beings experience consciousness or achieve enlightenment? And if so, can they somehow help the rest of us transcend the limitations of our ephemeral materiality?

Audiences are invited to sit on meditation cushions with headphones at private listening stations located around the outside of a freestanding, octagon-shaped room. At these stations they view a single performer inside the room through two-way-mirrored windows. The performer repeats mantras, affirmations, and meditative exercises prompted by a digital avatar who appears on the eight video screens surrounding them. 

This installation is free and open to the public. Seating for this event is extremely limited, and free admission will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis. The audience is invited to come and go as they wish throughout the duration of the three-hour performance.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact the Department of Theatre Arts in advance at 319-335-2700.