October 27, 2021

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Assessment: In ‘Add,’ Do Blockchains Dream of Electrical Lizards?

Review: In ‘Upload,’ Do Blockchains Dream of Electric Lizards?

When briefly in a “paused state,” the Father realizes that one thing failed within the add; it ought to have suppressed the trauma of his spouse’s loss of life however didn’t, dooming him to grieve her for eternity. He desires to be terminated, an irreversible motion that may solely be carried out by his daughter.

If that dilemma doesn’t really feel fully compelling or earned, it’s as a result of the Daughter is rarely correctly developed. She is launched as interested in her father’s new type, but it surely’s troublesome to think about anybody feeling greater than shock or anger in her place. As an alternative, she is proven solely in numerous states of mourning. (And this is perhaps too New York-centric a fixation, however how on earth can this younger lady afford to stay in an ethereal TriBeCa penthouse with a backyard terrace?)

Possibly it’s for the most effective, then, that we by no means see her resolution. The parallel tales arrive at parallel endings: the previous, the evening earlier than the Father’s add, and the current, the evening earlier than his possible termination. In a shocking coup de théâtre, a white curtain springs out, suspended over the viewers. On it are the Father and Daughter projected in cut up display screen. Though at reverse ends of the stage, even totally different planes of existence, they’re introduced as if mendacity head-to-head.

As they drift into sleep, we’re left with the Father’s Reminiscence Anchor, a dream rendered digitally — the inexperienced of the earth too inexperienced, the blue of the sky too blue. All the things we’ve heard about is there: the stone, sizzling to the contact, a lizard at relaxation. However the picture sometimes glints, defaulting to the 3-D line drawings of drafting software program, till the decision degrades into smooth fields of coloration. Solely the sounds of breeze and birdsong stay.

It’s a mysterious ultimate scene, however not one which requires any solutions. No matter what occurs subsequent, somebody will likely be compelled to stay with the ache of loss. And no know-how, it appears, can spare us that essentially human expertise.


Via Oct. 8 on the Dutch Nationwide Opera, Amsterdam; operaballet.nl.

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