Dance: Darkroom Contemporary, presents deus::ex::machina, human geography in a virtual world

When: Premieres on October 12, 2020 Where: Vrystaat Kunstefees Snelstroom Bookings: online: 12-17 October Price: No charge Info:

Exciting new work, presented by Cape Town’s Darkroom Contemporary – some physical performance in Cape Town and online – available free – anywhere in world. This info supplied by Darkroom Contemporary. Check back with TheCapeRobyn for more on this innovative production which “invites viewers to meet online or in real life, in a shared experience of simulated connection.” Intrigued? We are. And its free!!!


deus::ex::machina premiers on 12 October as part of Vrystaat Kunstefees Snelstroom. The work is open to the public from 12 – 17 October 2020, and can be viewed as live performance (Cape Town, SA) or as online experience from anywhere in the world. Tickets are free of charge.


deus::ex::machina – human geography in a virtual world is a physical expression of human geography, a search for finding connection within chaos. This multiplayer game invites viewers to meet online or in real life, in a shared experience of simulated connection. This new work is conceptualised and choreographed by Louise Coetzer, with interactive design by Thingking, and performed by Darkroom Contemporary Dance Theatre.

This virtual experience is driven by you, the viewer, and demonstrates a real – time exercise in cause and effect, infinite probability and random points of connection. 

In this extended reality, the viewer controls the dancers through multiple online voting processes, ultimately deciding their own unique experience of the telematic performance, as it unfolds via live stream. 

  • No two performances are the same, and no audience experience will be the same. 

deus::ex::machina is from the Latin phrase meaning ‘God from the machine’. The work questions our dependence on technology, and wonders, who is ultimately in control: man or machine?

The work was recently part of the Pan African Creative Exchange, and Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, Austria. deus::ex::machina is made possible by the National Lotteries Commission as principal funder. This project was realised through the Pan African Telematic Art Project (PATAP), an initiative of the Vrystaat Arts Festivals Pan African Creative Exchange, supported by the Embassy of the Netherlands in Pretoria and The Andrew  W. Mellon Foundation, and with support from NATi. 

In partnership with Thingking, Silent Events South Africa & Dance For All SA.

deus::ex::machina premiers on 12 October as part of Vrystaat Kunstefees Snelstroom. The work is open to the public from 12 – 17 October 2020, and can be viewed as live performance (Cape Town, SA) or as online experience from anywhere in the world. Tickets are free of charge.

During the COVID – 19 pandemic, arts organisations around the world is grappling with the recovery of the live arts, its fundamental principle being human connection in a time defined by physical isolation and confinement. The cancellation of many of  Darkroom Contemporary’s planned during its Tenth Year have been just one of the unfortunate repercussions of this pandemic. Even so, the company is looking ahead with anticipation towards the potential evolution of performance, through all the interactive technologies and digital platforms available. 

The company is recognised for its innovative approach to presenting dance and is uniquely positioned to integrate its existing repertoire and expertise towards producing interactive, experiential dance works for the digital era. Darkroom Contemporary is supported by the National Lotteries Commission as principal funder.

“With many of the company’s planned tenth anniversary performance commitments postponed indefinitely, it has been a  process of moving these events towards the digital space and are developing platforms and audiences for this. We see this as an opportunity to reinvent our existing repertoire of work, and to shift our focus to finding even more ways to utilise the technologies and digital channels available as platforms for artistic expressions. We feel it is important to embrace our current collective state for what it is, as opposed to what we wish it to be. “says Artistic Director and Choreographer Louise Coetzer.

Coetzer regularly collaborates with digital media artists to develop and research the crossover between technology and dance. To date, the award-winning company has produced dance works incorporating kinetic motion sensor technology, full dome 3D projection, interactive laser projection, interactive projection mapping, dance for film, live stream performance and Artificial Intelligence. Currently the company is engaged in research and development processes for projects incorporating 360-degree filmmaking for VR, large scale projection mapping, and further explorations into experimental live soundscapes. 

“The physical limitations of lockdown mean we are communicating solely through screens. This is affecting the performing arts as new performance modes are being developed, not meant to replace live performance, but as a new emerging art form that reflects our current state of being. To this end Darkroom Contemporary has launched a diverse line up of new and existing works for online channels, interactive dance experiences, telematic performance and public arts initiatives, designed to constantly adapt to the changing social distancing regulations “, Coetzer continues.





Concept, Choreography, Creative Direction:: Louise Coetzer                                         Interactive Digital Design, Set Design, Coding :: Marc Nicolson, Padraig Riley, Sibongiseni Tembe (ThingKing)
Performed by:: Darkroom Contemporary
Dancers:: Mukovhe Monyai, Christopher Sherwood – Adcock, Farnel Smart, Tania Mteto, Carla Scholtz 

Costume: Henri Design
Project Manager, Technical Support, Project Photographer ::Oscar O’Ryan Stage Manager:: Buntu Tyali Rehearsal Assistant :: Natalie Fisher 

Music by: Lungiswa Plaatjies, Matthijs van Dijk, Cara Stacey, Object Agency, Franco Prinsloo, NASA Sounds of Mars and other spaceflight missions, edited by Brydon Bolton


Get ready to experience deus::ex::machina! 

Participate in this online experience from anywhere in the world. 

The full experience is about 20 minutes long.

GO TO on the date & time you booked

Enter the waiting room and have a look around. Here you can test your sound channels, read more about the multiplayer game and get ready for stage 1.

There are 6 stages : before each stage, you’ll be prompted to make a selection from the options  

  • – your vote gets tallied with all the other players
  • – dancers receive the outcome of the vote via headphones 
  • – each dancer performs their part as decided by you
  • – you are shaping the outcome of the live performance as you go along
  • – this is live and in real time 


DARKROOM CONTEMPORARY Dance Theatre is a project based company formed as vehicle to reimagine dance, through its innovative approach to staging and presenting contemporary works. Darkroom Contemporary challenges perceptions on how dance is viewed, by creating unique audience experiences and new ways of representing and appreciating dance.

The company regularly stages works in unexpected performance areas, transforming ordinary spaces into intriguing, multi-faceted arenas. An extensive & award winning body of dance film works exist alongside the company’s performance repertoire, making their work accessible to a larger global audience through the medium of film and digital media. Darkroom Contemporary continuously explores new avenues to make dance accessible to all, through its artistic output, educational and developmental initiatives. 

The organisation was founded in 2010 by Louise Coetzer and Oscar O’Ryan. Coetzer, a dancer and choreographer, and O’Ryan, a photographer and filmmaker, bring together expertise from their respective fields to form a dynamic partnership. Projects spearheaded by the founders provide platforms and create opportunities for skills development and exchange among all artists involved. A focus on the use of new technology and digital media frame their artistic approach. Similarly does interdisciplinary exploration, with project collaborators including visual artists, musicians, designers, filmmakers and digital artists.

Darkroom Contemporary is a registered Non Profit Organisation and Public Benefit Organisation with the objectives to provide opportunities for trained performers and arts practitioners through its performance, education and film projects, while encouraging audiences to appreciate and support the art of dance. Darkroom Contemporary is dedicated to actively promoting and exploring contemporary dance theatre as art form. 

VISION: To present contemporary dance in ways that are current, relevant, innovative and accessible.

MISSION: Darkroom Contemporary seeks to be a catalyst for innovation and preservation within the contemporary South African performing arts landscape.


+27 84 6599099

❇Promoted post. Image supplied.