• Black Box teater
  • Oslo Internasjonale Teaterfestival
  • 12–16 March 2024
  • OITF’24 / Day #4

When Seeing and Feeling is Believing –
Technological Innovation and Deception
By Grace Tabea Tenga

If people cannot meet each other’s relational needs, can artificial intelligence be programmed to make viable technological alternatives? Can a robot with smooth, thermally adequate surface at 37 degrees celsius, provide us with skin-to-skin contact that can fill needs of intimacy sans other people? Some have opted out of regular relationships and traditional coupling to marry their favorite fictional character in virtual realities, as for instance some devoted manga-fans who are in moé, i.e. a deep commitment to a figure from manga cartoons or animé series.  

In The Companion, our need for connection with other living creatures is channeled through a robotic dog. The Helsinki-based arts collective WAUHAUS is behind the 20-minute performance viewed by only one single audience member interacting with the brought-to-life creature. Developed during the pandemic, it was created to fill in the void left behind with humans. The very thing that makes performing arts dynamic , the people, posed a threat to public safety. The last public event I attended prior to the lockdown was the performance by Dana Michel titled CUTLASS SPRING during the 2020 version of Oslo Internasjonale Teaterfestival. After this enraged roar of a performance,  the silence of empty stages felt numbing. And at times, does using technology come from a genuine place of exploration, as I believe WAUHAUS are, or is it a way to cut costs and deny us of the joys of the real deal, following the logic of late stage capitalism? 

       National Day of the Kven People
One of Norway's five nationally minorities, recognized for their longstanding contribution to the cultural diversity to Norway, the Kvens, celebrated their national day today. The festival honored the occasion with cake and the turning of jackets inside out, a form of protest against the attempted erasure of rich kven culture. Hyvvää kvääninkansan päivää!


Black Box teater has invited dancer and art critic Grace Tabea Tenga to write a series of daily reflections on the festival