SystemFailed deals with structures of power in the "smart" age. Algorithmic governance techniques are made playfully tangible and a critical examination of digitalization is initiated. Three performers and a self-developed AI system, represented by moving light and projections, face the audience.

The project is divided into three modules:

SystemFailed:exploration - the technical development

SystemFailed:exchange - the workshop

SystemFailed:experience - the performance




current dates

28. + 29. + 30. October. 22
@ ZiMMT Leipzig

past dates

19.März. 22 - 6:00 & 8:30 pm (unfortunately cancelled due to Corona)
@ ZKM Karlsruhe

18.März. 22 - 6:00 & 8:30 pm (unfortunately cancelled due to Corona)
@ ZKM Karlsruhe

04.März. 22 - 5:30 & 8:30 pm
@ Schaubühne Lindenfels

03.März. 22 - 7:00 pm
Premiere @ Schaubühne Lindenfels

26.Nov. - 28.Nov. 21
Next Level Festival @ Zollverein Essen

29.Okt. - 30.Okt. 21
Hybrid Play Festival @ HELLERAU


is a participatory performance where the audience can influence the course of the action. Three researchers use the audience as a micro-society that is analyzed, evaluated and shaped by AI. The AI becomes an autonomous actor and the outcome of each performance is as uncertain as our near future. 


SystemFailed:exploration @ Lindenfels

The AI system consists of LiDAR laser motion tracking, a machine learning system that predicts motion behavior, and an evaluation system that makes automated decisions and interacts with the audience via projections, moving heads and synthesized voice.

Click the button, to follow the development

CODING - The nerds develop the machine learning system, the control software for lights and projections, and the geometric calculations to evaluate movements. 
The machine learning is based on the Trajectory Forecasting Framework (TrajNet++). The algorithm attempts to predict the movement behavior of people in groups. The software development can be followed onHub.

TRACKING - The LiDAR lasers can be used to measure the exact position of each person in the room. This way, the AI knows where people are at all times, how they are moving, how fast or slow they are walking, and how close they are getting. We use six lasers distributed around the scene area so that all people are always in view of the AI and are assigned unique IDs. There's no hiding from the "laser eyes."

CALIBRATION - The laser tracking system and the ground projection are calibrated to each other. During the first tests, the X and Y position and the ID are projected.

ML TRAINING - The machine learning system for motion prediction gets trained.

PREDICTION - Real-time tracking data is processed by the ML system and future movement is predicted.

MOVING BEAMS - The light beams become the arms of the AI, with the help of which it can intervene in the action. Anyone who breaks a rule, such as getting too close to the others, will be blinded.

LIGHT NET - A mirror installation creates a network of light. Uncountable rays cross in space - a metaphor for the artificial neural network. In the test, two mirror objects are printed, glued and hung to test the angles.

The performers explore the AI system.

A first system test with more people.



is a performative workshop in which we test the use of the self-developed AI system together with the participants. Examining the power structures within our digitalised world, we will embark on a research journey that is a simulation game, a test-run and an analysis of our own beviors all at the same time. Devoting ourselves to the question of how deeply artificial intelligence intervenes in our lives, we will examine and question the effects of algorithmically controlled systems of power in a playful way. With the help of a personalised tracking system, participants will experience in real time how an artificial intelligence predicts and evaluates their movements in space. Seemingly arbitrary machine decisions will be linked to a strict system of rules that will emerge through the improvised play of participants and performers. A temporary micro-society will be formed with and through the AI - and the question of how we want to shape it.

AI - System - The AI - system has learned further, got a voice and is ready to interact with the workshop participants. The funding of the BUNDESZENTRALE FÜR POLITISCHE BILDUNG and the cooperation with the Festspielhaus HELLERAU for the festival Hybrid Play #RealityCheck provides the framework for this project. The AI is set up, the playing field is marked out and calibrated, and all the trades come together for the first time. We want to try out how the participants move under the tracking of the AI. Do they follow the rules? Do they break them? What does it do to the participants when they become aware that they are constantly being tracked and their data collected?


WORKSHOPS - In the workshops, the Rule Sets are tested with the participants and then evaluated in a moderated feedback discussion. The participants are asked about their experiences, what they have understood - or not, and questions that arise are discussed. After each workshop, changes are made in the individual departments, which can then be tried out and tested at the following workshop.

RULESETS - Rulesets were developed based on social phenomena, structures and habits. The AI defines behaviors or instructions that the participants must adhere to - otherwise there is a risk that the points of the social score will be deducted. Each ID, each participant, carries this score openly with them on their individual tracker. 

FEEDBACK - In conversation and direct exchange we could ask questions and collect associations and impressions. In our temporary micro-society, we were able to question power structures and hierarchies, try out rule sets and character studies of the performers, and find out how far we can go on the border between comfort, play, and totalitarian, digitalized system.


Concept: ArtesMobiles | Performance: Milena Gürtler, Mad Kate, Juliane Torhorst | Direction: Nina Maria Stemberger | Audiovisual Direction: Birk Schmithüsen | Sound Design: Elisa Battisutta | Lighting Design: Hans Leser | Dramaturgical Support: Lea-Maria Kneisel | Visuals: Wieland Hilker, Caren Müller | Programming TouchDesigner: Lennart Beese | Programming machine learning (AI): Marcus Ding | Costume: Juan Chamié, Mad Kate | Technical direction: Hendrik Fritze | Light operator: Fabian Arat, Luise Graeff | Tracking: Fabian Luepke | Moderation: Flugwerk | Technical assistance: Sophie Krause | Assistant director: Elisabeth Eichler, Jasmin Lein | Accounting Management: Irina Hofmann | Video documentation: Alexander Hector | Photo documentation: Caroline Wimmer | Graphics: Max Adam | Web design: Benji Lee Martin | Intern: Isabella Jahns

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Nina Maria Stemberger

is a performance artist, choreographer, theater and dance educator. She cofounded the performance company ArtesMobiles. In her work, she repeatedly asks herself how art in public space can be an integral part of the development of future perspectives and how it can be shaped.

further projects: FlyingDrinks, BehindWalls, SpeculativeAI, *JU.PI.TER*, MagicDrink, LaBodega, SquareLand

Birk Schmithuesen

is a media artist living in Leipzig. His work is shown internationally at key media art festivals in France, Netherlands, Austria, Spain and Germany, including re:publica, Chaos Communication Congress, Ars Electronica Festival and ZKM. Birk Schmithüsen is co-founder of ArtesMobiles and FlashClash. For collaborations with the performing arts, he produces interactive audiovisual environments using generative sound design, multi-channel sound, lighting design, video projection mapping and motion tracking.
The performers can interact with the immersive sceneries and the audience is diving into.

further projects: FlyingDrinks, BehindWalls, SpeculativeAI, *JU.PI.TER*, MagicDrink, LaBodega, SquareLand

Jule Torhorst

(actor, director, theatre pedagogy) lives in Berlin and works as a theatre maker in whole Germany. She creates artistic-political formats with site specific performances. She unites performing arts with social relevant questions, guides development of plays with amateurs and pros. And she is playing in international productions on stage. Funder member of children theatre KOLONASTIX, culture association „Neu am See“, 1000Gestalten, Künstler mit Herz Brandenburg.

Milena Gürtler

is an actress with a focus on dance and singing. She studied at the Bongôrt-v. Roy in Leipzig. She has worked with the Sebastian Weber Company, choreographer Gundula Peuthert and musical theatre director Anja Winkler. During her study trips to Paris, Istanbul and Israel, she deepened her knowledge of contemporary dance and performance art in various further education courses. With the desire to experience spaces outside the conventional theatre space through music, movement and language, the ensemble Soundtravelers was founded in 2017. Their performative promenade concert at the Pergamonmuseum Berlin won the prize for re-performability.

further projects: FlyingDrinks



Kathryn Fischer | Mad Kate

(they/them) is an electronic producer, sound designer,      performance artist and writer who began working the Berlin performance and club scene in 2004, expanding their unique identity-queering, genderfucking and sexpositive performative work throughout music, theatre and film. Their explorations of borders between/within bodies and touch as political practice have brought them to theaters, communes, technomansions, prisons, dungeons, squats and galleries around the world, often with their multimedia artist duo HYENAZ.


Elisa Batti

is a sound designer, producer and media artist based in Amsterdam.

Her works have been presented in many venues worldwide such as : Palais de Tokyo, Taiwan National Theater, Ballet National de Marseille, Kinetica Museum London, Elbphilarmonie Hamburg,…, just to name some.

After the experience of leading Violet Fall (2013), a band released under the Japan­ese label Progressive Form, since 2015 Elisa Batti slowly stepped actively into the techno environment as a producer and DJ. 
In 2018 she found together with her friend Cyb, the label Immaterial Archives.

She is currently working as a lecturer at the Anton de Kom University and also as a free­lancer engineer for research projects.

Hans Leser

is a lighting designer, lighting technician, effects artist and electronics hobbyist. In addition to freelance work as a lighting technician in the theatre and event sector, since 2006 he has worked as a lighting designer for various theatre productions at HAU (Berlin), Ballhaus Naunynstraße (Berlin), Theater am Neumarkt (Zurich), Theaterdiscounter (Berlin), Volkstheater Wien, Maxim Gorki Theater Berlin. He has worked with directors Patrick Wengenroth, Barbara Weber, Bruce LaBruce, Nurkan Erpulat, Hakan Savas Mican, Christiane Rösinger and the groups Die Skills, CHEAP and Rimini Protokoll, among others.

Caren Müller

is a visual artist and has worked as a creative director at LiCHTPiRATEN since 2006. She lives in Berlin/Uckermark.

LiCHTPiRATEN is an artists' collective with many years of experience in designing and planning of international audio-visual events. Their performances are projection art composed with music, live and site-specific. The generative visuals arise from the sounds, orientate themselves to the space and interact with it. Mapping, tracking and sensors are connected with generative techniques.


Lennart Beese

started out as a computer science nerd and ended up as an event technician, somehow always following the red thread of a creative, creative and empowering approach to technology. In this sense, he has been involved in organising the Chaos Communication Congress and other events of the Chaos Computer Club since 2013 - which is also how he got to know ArtesMobiles.

In addition to computer gadgetry and colourful glow in all walks of life, he is also often involved in the attempt to do something for the much-vaunted better world that is rumoured to be possible and has recently joined Cadus e.V. for this purpose.

Marcus Ding

is responsible for SystemFailed's machine learning parts. He is currently studying for a master's degree in IT Systems Engineering at Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam with practical projects and research in machine learning and human-computer interaction. At the same time, he designs light installations, other maker projects, and programs as a freelance developer for various art projects. In 2020 he contributed to the open-source project FreeCAD as a participant in the Google Summer of Code program.



Hendrik Henne Fritze

is a light pirate and projection lover since 2008. With his company Beamaround is active in many different  fields of projection and projects.

For SystemFailed he is helping out as technical director and videospecialist.

Luise Graeff

Lighting designer and technician, she has been working with light and performance since 2012. She completed her training as an event technician at Theater des Westens Berlin in 2017. Since then she has been working in Berlin as a lighting technician at the Weiten Theater für Puppen und Menschen, Deutsche Oper, Maxim Gorki Theater and Fabrik Potsdam. Among other things, she worked on the lighting design and its implementation for Carly Lave's Golem dance performance at the Uferstudios Berlin.
Lilu Graeff is part of the FLINTA* lighting collective Infrariot. With their work they support projects that pursue activist content artistically and politically, such as the 13° Festival Bremen, Invision Festival and the Fusion/PlanetC.

Lea Kneisel

Lea-Maria Kneisel studied Theater and Media, German Studies, Dramaturgy as well as Politics, Media and Performance in Bayreuth, Frankfurt am Main and Aberysthwyth (Wales).

In the past years she worked for different theater and performance projects as a performer as well as in the field of dramaturgy, press and public relations. Since 2018, as part of the collective artistic direction of FLUGWERK, she has been focusing on opening up artistic work processes to audiences as well as on further developing appropriate feedback methods for artistic practice. In addition, she is responsible for the press and public relations of the Uferstudios for contemporary dance in Berlin.

For SystemFailed she accompanies the dramaturgical process.

Alexander Hector

studied film at the Kunsthochschule in Hamburg, lives in Berlin and has been working as a freelance filmmaker for 12 years. He works in feature films and documentaries and has shot countless films, trailers and documentaries in the beautiful world of theatre and puppet theatre. Other projects are clearly inspired by the stylised aesthetics of the stage.

further projects: FlyingDrinks, SquareLand, LaBodega, JU*PI*TER



Caroline Wimmer

born and raised in Thüringen, Caroline moved to Berlin in 2000 to study European Ethnology and Modern History. That went well and took a while. Upon finishing in 2009  she decided that she would have to become a photographer after all.

Over the years she has founded her photo studio ATP24 in Berlin at Treptower Park where she follows her passion of portrait photography. Also she works as an event photographer for several agancies.
 Aside from her commercial work she engages in independent projects such as fashion editorials and experimental photography.

Wishing to combine her love for photography and techno, she applied as a festival photographer at Garbicz Festival in 2018. That was how the collaboration with ArtesMobiles started.

further projects: FlyingDrinks, MagicDrink, Festival photography for Galeria Iluzja at Garbicz 2018 and 2019, C36



Eli Eichler | Bob Jones

studied French and English literature as well as photography in Leipzig, Berlin, Gießen and Montpellier. Her photographs have been exhibited internationally in cities such as Arles, Toronto, Bratislava, Auckland, Monaco and Kuusamo. In addition to her fine art projects, the language and photo artist has been travelling the world with a self-made wooden camera since 2016. Eli captures her encounters at art and cultural events, festivals and on the street in analogue portraits that are instantly developed. The finished prints from the mobile darkroom are then sent as a travelling exhibition in all directions. / 

further projects: Galeria Iluzja, CCC, Behind Walls, Lato Meio-Residenz 

Sophie Borchert | Wilma larum

completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in integrated design at Anhalt University of Applied Sciences. She is employed as a graphic designer and she works in interdisciplinary exchange with other artists on independent projects in Leipzig. Her favourite colour is green.

further projects: FlyingDrinks, BehindWalls

Isabella Jahns

is studying communication and media sciences at the University of Leipzig and gaining experience in the field of PR and public relations. She has always been interested in theatre and creative work, as well as in the process of developing different projects and the interaction of all participants.

Jasmin Lein

studies English and theater at the University of Leipzig. She has been involved in various theater projects and is interested in their creation processes.
Other projects: FlyingDrinks


The FLUGWERK team consists of six women who are professionally active in the fields of acting, performance, directing, production, project coordination, dramaturgy and public relations, and who also have specialist knowledge in politics, literature, cultural and media studies, mediation and cooking. The team works collectively on the continuous further development of its own format of the OFFENEN PROBE and in this context is concerned with opening up artistic work processes in front of and for an audience. This is accompanied by the ongoing collection, (further) development and provision of communication and feedback methods for artistic practice. In the context of SystemFailed, different team members of FLUGWERK will take over the moderation of the discussion format, to which the audience will be invited after the SystemFailed work shows.

With the kind support of the residency program of HELLERAU-European Center for the Arts, Dresden.

in cooperation with:

SystemFailed:experience supported by:

SystemFailed:exchange supported by:

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