Performance and theatre-maker Orion Maxted creates productions in the form of open compositions intended to generate ideas. He combines insights concerning complex systems from cybernetics and biology with language, subjectivity and musicality. Maxted’s work is known for being intriguing and challenging, while remaining accessible to a wide audience.
In Human Simulation (Frascati Producties 2017), Maxted unleashes biological processes on language to create a world in which different scales become intertwined. This production links the autonomous regulation of human cells to the drama of romance, or the way food chains work to relations within international politics. On the basis of a small geometry made up of three performers, connections to the outside world are made in an attempt to understand this world.
Maxted [The Brain] (Frascati Producties 2018/2019) then developed a performance that transforms the audience into a single communal brain, linked by mobile telephones. A ‘swarm intelligence’ that learns to think for itself, ask and answer questions and carry out creative tasks. Up to the point where this brain then writes its own performance, using a constant feedback loop with what is happening on the ground.
In [The Brain], Orion Maxted organises a live experiment based on the latest insights from cybernetics, neuroscience and network theory. At the same time, questions arise concerning society, democracy and the human condition, the relationship between collective power and individual impotence, microcosm and macrocosm. Do the world and the brain share a common structure? Are we witnessing the birth of a global brain? And if so, how can we ensure that the best ideas bubble to the surface, to the general benefit of the collective?
[The Brain] is an ongoing research project that has, in various forms, played at IDFA (Amsterdam 2018), Festival Internazionale di Teatro Arte e Nuove Tecnologie a Cagliari (Cagliari (IT) 2018), Putting the Fun back in Fundamentalism (Paradiso 2019) and THNK, School of Creative Leadership (Amsterdam 2019).
Orion Maxted studied computer science before taking a course in music and performance and obtaining a Master’s in Theatre from DasArts. He regularly cooperates with the Systems Biology department at the University of Amsterdam and from the autumn of 2019 will be temporarily affiliated to the University’s Institute for Advanced Studies. Here, he is working with Hans Westerhoff (Professor of Synthetic Systems Biology) and Peter Sloot (Professor of Complex Adaptive Systems). In addition, Maxted is an artistic member of the Evolution, Complexity and Cognition research group at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Orion Maxted is supported by Frascati Producties.