performance with speaker, amplifier, aluminium, microphone stand
The initial component of an opera for robots. Based on the 1925 play Thomas Münzer by the German playwright Berta Lask, it is an attempt to create a voice for the voiceless machines, and a presage of the future of automatic poetry. The original play was written as a piece of pedagogic theatre to instil communist ideas in the German proletariat. It focussed on the life of the radical German preacher Thomas Müntzer, a utopian and proto-communist, and one of the leaders of the German Peasants’ Revolt of 1525. Lask’s script was scanned, and the scan processed by text recognition software and an automatic translator, spoken by text-to-speech software and turned back into text for the performance. The title, V.D.M.I.Æ. stands for Verbum Dominum Manet in Æternum - The Word of the Lord Endures Forever - the slogan that Müntzer carried on his banner. It’s use here plays on the failure of meaning to persevere, through the corruption of the text used in the performance.