SETUP's SILICON PASSION: dealing with the power of Big Tech (2021)

Project for SETUP.

Is Silicon Valley the scapegoat of our time? Should Big Tech be ‘crusified’? SETUP called on creative makers to collaborate on The Silicon Passion: an adaptation of the famous St Matthew Passion by Johann Sebastian Bach. The St Matthew Passion tells the age-old Biblical story of the scapegoat who takes on the suffering of his time. In 2021 we are occupied applying the same scapegoat principle to Big Tech. But is this the way that will bring salvation? What similarities can we find between the responsibilities of those in power then and the "tech rulers" of today? Are their apologies still meaningful? What role do we as users play in this Passion? And what can forgiveness mean? In short: what will the ritual of accusing, condemning and forgiving look like in 2021, when we talk about Big Tech?

Together with writer and historian Ewoud Kieft and seven makers from different disciplines, SETUP produced The Silicon Passion: a new age theater performance which, gave a new meaning to the tradition of "aan het kruis cancellen". It premiered on Good Friday, April 2, 2021. The performance was part of The Alternative Easter Weekend, which SETUP and Theater Kikker presented together. With two online performances about the power of Big Tech, SETUP and Kikker explored the boundaries of theatre.

Together with Marijke Hessels I guided the makers in their artistic research. In collaboration with Theater Kikker I produced the theater performance.

To record the process of the artistic research of the makers, I produced and edited a series of podcasts for SETUP.

Together with Jelle van der Ster I hosted and moderated the podcasts.

Listen to the talks here!

Omgaan met de macht van Big Tech 1/3: Esther Baalman & Jorien Aberkrom en "De Zondebok" (NL)

Omgaan met de macht van Big Tech 2/3: Derk Stenvers & David Schwarz (De Transmissie) and Rodrigo Ferreira en "Het Oordeel" (EN)

Omgaan met de macht van Big Tech 3/3: Marjolein van der Laan en Roel Weerdenburg en "De Straf" (forthcoming)

Foto's: Sebastiaan ter Burg