ENACT KNOWLEDGE

Sensorium Ex

Background and problem

The question of what it means to be fully and essentially human, is being re-actualized by the developments of neuroscience, computer-science, disability studies, robotics, AI, and machine-learning technology. The truth of who we are is ever in flux, yet it persists in love, in the senses, in the depths of loss, and in human connection.

Vision & mission

Sensorium Ex envisions an opera exploring and exploding notions of how humans – with particular histories, gifts, and abilities – perceive and understand the world. Inspired by Chad Foster, a businessman whose blindness from macular degeneration is only part of the beginning of his story, Sensorium Ex challenges the assumptions that disability is, by definition, loss.

Project

The full-length piece is in the research/development/writing stage and it is planned to premiere in 2020.

The Sensorium Ex has premiere in 2020 at Atlanta Opera.

Working Synopsis

A group of scientists gather around Sophia, their newest robotic invention whose sight reads minds. Each has come to the table for different reasons, which unravel as we eavesdrop on intertwined characters whose narratives morph and migrate like all the stories of our lives: in a mysterious and unstable mix of perception, memory, reason and emotion. The truth of who we are is ever in flux, yet it persists in love, in the senses, in the depths of loss, and in human connection. The journey to the truth of ourselves may well be interior, or from soul to soul, but the distance traveled is beyond measure. As the scientists relationships to Sophia are uncovered, their own motivations for “seeing” come to light, and we come to understand her sight as a composite of their lives and dreams.

Partners

This project is produced and developed by several collaborators: Atlanta Opera and Beth Morrison Projects in association with Arizona State University, Enactlab and Hamletscenen of Copenhagen, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Lyric Theater at the University of Illinois.

The Opera itself is commissioned by composer Paola Prestini and librettist Brenda Shaughnessy.

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