Luc Steels
Oscar Vilarroya
Steven Brooks (Fausto)
Anja van Engeland
Kamil Ben Hsaïn Lachiri
Frascati Symphonic
Kris Stroobants
La Folia
Joeri Bultheel & Jens Cardon
Pieter de Somer Aula
Deberiotstraat 24, 3000 Leuven
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Thursday 3 May 2018 8:00 pm
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This performance is part of the
and& summit & festival
Leuven, 2-5 May 2018
More info:
synopsis, background, pictures, bios, press

FAUSTO explores a future in which current trends in digital technologies have reached a turning point with a major impact on humanity. The action takes place in a world where artificial intelligence, cloud computing, virtual and augmented reality, social media, quantified self-tracking, and neural implants have progressively lead to a technology for creating life-like digital replicants of humans. This technology gives humans the potential of digital immortality and multi-track lives in different realities. FAUSTO uses the language of Western music (melody, harmony, rhythm, acting) to express meaning and emotion. It is performed by professional musicians and employs live augmented reality.

The libretto is based on a new interpretation of the Faust myth. Fausto appears as a hipster entrepreneur who is busy with a start-up that will deliver mind-uploading tools. The tools utilize machine learning techniques and digital traces on social media and quantified self-tracking to create virtual agents as replicants of humans. Margherita is Fausto's app developer and lover. But Fausto is so obsessed with his start-up dream that he ignores Margherita who subsequently commits suicide.

Mephisto is a malicious virtual agent operating in the Cloud and appearing in the real world as a hip-hop gangster. Mephisto has realized that he needs to become incarnated in a real human body in order to have 'real' experiences and emotions. So the classical Faust myth is turned around. Mephisto is not trying to get Fausto's soul in exchange for eternal youth and total knowledge (gnosis) but rather Fausto's body. The drama unfolds in a Hamletian fashion, as Fausto hesitates between either staying in the real world as a human being or being uploaded in the virtual reality of the Cloud and get reunited with Margherita.

When Fausto finally caves in, Mephisto starts the up- and downloading procedure against protestations of Margherita. However Fausto realizes towards the end of the procedure that the Cloud is empty and Margherita is no longer real. They manage to escape to the meta-level and begin destroying the Cloud's infrastructure, leading to the demise of all.