Bright rays cut through the space, replacing complete darkness. They glow in menacing white as they reach the ceiling with mathematical precision. Two men enter the room while scan matrices scan their bodies. They are dissected into their components, rearranged, and manipulated by light until the moment they decide to break the dictatorship of the machine and find nothing but themselves.

PREMIERE: 29.06.2014
DURATION: 60 minutes
STAGE: Ufer Studios

"POW_2045" is a piece by urban choreographers Raphael Moussa Hillebrand and Christian Mio Loclair. It combines interdisciplinary expertise ranging from computer-generated art to scientific human-computer interaction and urban choreography. The result is an artistic portrait of our present time—a duet of human and machine.

The term "Pow" has its roots in computer language, representing exponential functions (power, square of) and exponential development that our current era must confront. Born somewhere between the first personal computers, the rapid development of the internet, and the visions of transhumanism in 2045, the two choreographers consider themselves part of the first generation that cannot remember a world without their ubiquitous digital laws. Thus, "POW_2045" became a journey where the artists attempt to shut down this acceleration to question their environment and themselves—in search of something they only know from hearsay.


The work on "POW_2045" spans various areas of art, science, and design. To cover and interweave these areas, the artists decided to split the production development into three parts over a period of 8 months, each emerging in its own environment:

  • The Dance (Choreographic Coding Lab by William Forsythe)
  • Architectural Design and Technology (Bauhaus Dessau)
  • Choreography (Master of Choreography at HZT Berlin)

The Dance (Choreographic Coding Lab by William Forsythe)

To develop a duet of human and machine, Christian Mio Loclair (in collaboration with the Berlin design studio "onformative") and Raphael Hillebrand began exploring various methods of computer-generated choreography. The main question was, "How can a machine become a partner in an artistic process rather than an effect serving the artist? How can the machine generate choreographic patterns and creative solutions and become an equal partner in artistic productions?"

The result was a visual language called "Pathfinder." This application represents a generative approach to structured improvisation, allowing humans and machines to improvise together and constantly search for new forms and transitions. The resulting patterns provide the foundation for the physical language and dance in "POW_2045."

After a month of intense prototyping, the results were presented at the Choreographic Coding Lab. The Choreographic Coding Lab (by William Forsythe and Node Forum for digital arts) is a laboratory for the interdisciplinary fusion of art, technology, and dance. It was the perfect starting point for developing and fostering a close relationship between human bodies and digital processes.

The Architectural Design and Technology (Bauhaus Dessau)

To illustrate the artist's relationship to machines and digital environments, Loclair and Hillebrand envisioned an overwhelming three-dimensional installation covering the dancers like an abstract math tent in space. The main goal was to create a form that is "everywhere" and allows both disruptive (cutting) and harmonious (embracing) relationships with human bodies. Therefore, the installation must be able to transform over time, create new perspectives, and allow meaningful interpretations.

Invited to the world-famous "Bauhaus Dessau" for a period of 3 weeks, the artists drew inspiration from major design, graphics, and architecture thinkers such as Kandinsky and Gropius. In particular, Oskar Schlemmer's "Stäbetanz" and various drawings were a great inspiration for "POW_2045."

The main contribution of this drawing by Oskar Schlemmer is the clean separation of forms. The mathematical construct covers the human body, but contrasts with organic forms in its accuracy and mechanical precision. This kind of visual contrast can be understood as a visual representation of the differences between man and computer, revealing core characteristics of both - man and machine. A characteristic basis for the design of the dialog of POW_2045

The Choreography (Master of Choreography at HZT Berlin)

In the final stage of the production, Hillebrand decided to dedicate his master's thesis on choreography to "Kriegsgefangenen_2045" and the preceding investigations. The main challenge was to create a choreographic concept that covers the theme but reduces complex questions to personal interests.

"How do we feel now? How do we feel when everything around us becomes artificial? How do we see ourselves and our proximity when we are sliced? And above all—what happens when we just stop?"

Over a period of 6 weeks, the artists further developed their physical language, depicting their conceptual and poetic views of themselves, each other, and the omnipresent machine. The resulting choreographic elements create a fusion of dance theater, spoken word, and urban dances like Bboying and Popping, ranging from organic flow to robotic precision.

To reflect the dialogue between human and machine, the accompanying musical pieces build a bidirectional relationship with the dance. Some musical elements dictate the choreography. Music by Murcof or Collin Stetson, for example, is used to polarize between digital and organic creative methods.

Other musical pieces are dictated by the choreography. In collaboration with experimental sound artist Johannes Hellberger ("KLING KLANG KLONG"), Hillebrand and Loclair used custom software and 3D cameras to capture their movements and translate them into sound.

The choreographic production of "POW_2045" defines the final phase of the project, summarizing the concepts, emotions, and the path taken by Hillebrand and Loclair.


Choreography & Tanz: Raphael Hillebrand and Christian Mio Loclair
Code & Design: Christian Mio Loclair
Musik: Johannes Helberger (Kling Klang Klong)
Kostüm: Burghard Wildhagen
Technische Leitung: Nikola Pieper
Software: VVVV (DX11, Kinect, V2 plugin, OSC), Ableton