The Automated Sniper
Julian HetzelNetherlands / Germany
Navigating the boundary of art, gaming and war.
“A smart theatrical essay on the re-calibration of our concept of war.” (Theaterkrant)
With the rise of virtual warfare the difference between playing a wargame like Battlefield and the firing of real weapons has become much smaller. What about ethics now that the enemy has been reduced to a series of pixels on a screen ?
In The Automated Sniper theatre maker Julian Hetzel draws a poignant parallel between contemporary warfare (in which drones are replacing the 'classic' weapons) videogames and art. The performance is a choreography of the gamification of violence. A biting exercise in militainment.
On a virgin white stage there are two actors (Bas van Rijnsoever and Claudio Rietfeld) sighted by a specially designed paintball machine. Steered by an invisible voice (Ana Wild) they are shot at : first by people in the audience, but afterwards also by a gamer from Iraq, 5000 kilometres away from the scene of the crime...
The performance itself is literally shot to pieces. Julian Hetzel in De Standaard : “If we artists -without much budget- can develop such a machine, what will happen if someone with bad intentions, more money and real weapons can just do the same ? I can't bear to think about it.”
The Automated Sniper is a smart but sour sample of committed performance art, which is also very funny at times. 35-year-old Hetzel, who grew up in Germany but is working in The Netherlands, has often been called one of the most exciting voices in contemporary theatre.
CONCEPT & DIRECTOR Julian Hetzel DRAMATURGY Miguel Angel Melgares MACHINE ARTIST Hannes Waldschütz PERFORMERS Bas van Rijnsoever, Claudio Rietfeld, Ana Wild ARTISTIC COLLABORATOR Joachim Robbrecht DRAMATURGY ASSISTANT Luc Groen, Artun Alaska Arasli TECHNICAL DIRECTOR Tymen Bergman COSTUMES Karianne Hoederkamp LIGHT DESIGN Nico de Rooij PRODUCED BY Frascati Theater Amsterdam in collaboration with ism&heit COPRODUCED BY WEB Network:Gessnerallee Zürich (CH), Beursschouwburg Brussel (BE), Göteborg dans &
teater festival (SE), Uzès Festival (FR), WP Zimmer Antwerpen (BE)
Duration: 80 min
Location: Armentières - Le Vivat