As Good As You

As Good As You

Dance performance, robotics, AI

A dance performance that poses the question of trust between humans and artificial intelligence with regard to creative processes

About the project

"As Good As You" is the title and the initial question for the research and project development of this project: In recent years, the development of generative AI-based software such as ChatGPT, Stable-Diffusion, Dall-E and other tools has reached a kind of tipping point: Where previously software was primarily located in logical contexts such as chess, facial recognition or medical analysis, it is now clear that "self-adapting algorithms" are capable of supposedly generating something new, of being creative. But this form of creativity raises questions: What is the actual creative process? Who owns what is created: the person who provides the creative input or the company that developed the software? And above all: are programmers able to recreate supposedly human processes or even create their own original creative works that do not fit into human categories? What is deeply human? What characterizes human beings? Can we even use software to train and increase our own level of humanity?

The focus of the rehearsal work is on concepts such as idleness, "dolce far niente", loss of control, ecstasy or pleasure. Human characteristics that are certainly not the focus of software development. The performer and dancer Sarah Plattner tries to generate stage directions in an improvised conversation with ChatGPT in order to put herself in a state of loss of control and has the movement material analyzed by specially developed software that has been trained to recognize gradations and the achievement of ecstasy and to provide feedback via voice output. The Fraunhofer Institute's SHORE facial recognition system reads emotions: a futile attempt to determine whether the "Dolce Far Niente" is really that sweet. During tai chi with the robot Pepper, unpleasant questions arise, while eating cherries, ChatGPT is interviewed about the feeling of being in love and the audience listens to the thoughts of feminist Eva Gengler, ethicist Peter Dabrock, engineer Sebastian Reitelshöfer and music researcher Martin Ullrich via wireless headphones.

The team led by choreographer Alexandra Rauh and Gunnar Seidel poses philosophical questions in an immersive setting reminiscent of a park, which invites you to stroll through artificial nature in the tradition of the Renaissance and Romanticism. It invites us to reflect on how AI-based software will change our lives.

Research panels 2022 and 2023

In November 2022 and July 2023, the public was invited to move freely on the stage of the Tafelhalle and the rooms of the Deutsches Museum Nuremberg (Museum of the Future), participate in discussions, test text-to-image generators, listen to a sermon by the robot Pepper, note down questions and watch an open rehearsal with the dancer and the SHORE® facial recognition software. Tests of the analysis software and conversations with ChatGPT were conducted in public.

The first scenic excerpts from the current state of work were supplemented in 2022 by discussions between the artistic management team and Veronika Ortmayr, consultant to the management of the Academy for Theatre and Digitality Dortmund, Prof. Dr. Bastus Trump, Junior Professor for Artificial Creativity and Musical Interaction, Nuremberg University of Music and Prof. Dr. Peter Dabrock, Chair of Systematic Theology (Ethics), FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg and former Chairman of the German Ethics Council.

In 2023, the second panel took place in a similar arrangement. This time, Eva Gengler (feminist and doctoral candidate at the Schöller Chair of Information Systems at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg), Dr. Sebastian Reitelshöfer (Head of the Robotics Research Unit at FAU) and Prof. Dr. Martin Ullrich (Professor of Interdisciplinary Music Research with a focus on Human-Animal Studies at the Nuremberg University of Music) were invited.



Concept, Directing Gunnar Seidel
Choreography Alexandra Rauh
With Sarah Plattner
Dramaturgy Maria Isabel Hagen
Production Julia Opitz
Stage and Costumes Maria Pfeiffer
Sounddesign Jan Pfitzer
Programming Alexander Lunt
Network & Cooperations Dominik Breuer

Scientific Consulting Prof. Dr. Bastus Trump (Nuremberg University of Music), Prof. Dr. Peter Dabrock (FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg), Veronika Ortmayr (Academy for Theatre and Digitality Dortmund), Eva Gengler (FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg), Dr. Sebastian Reitelshöfer (FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg) and Prof. Dr. Martin Ullrich (Nuremberg University of Music)

In Cooperation with the Tafelhalle Nuremberg, the Leonardo Center for Creativity and Innovation and FAU Nuremberg-Erlangen.
Supported vy Fraunhofer Institut Erlangen
Funded by Fonds Darstellende Künste funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media as part of NEUSTART KULTUR, the Cultural Department of the City of Nuremberg, the Bavarian State Association for Contemporary Dance, the Sparkasse Nürnberg Foundation and the Nürnberger Nachrichten Foundation