A Piece of Work
Author: Annie Dorsen
Publisher: Ugly Duckling Presse (2017)
Mixing live performance with algorithms and interfaces, A Piece of Work is the second project in Annie Dorsen’s “algorithmic theater” series. A digital Hamlet for a post-humanist age, A Piece of Work deploys a set of ingeniously designed computer algorithms to generate real-time adaptations of Shakespeare’s original play. New scenes, songs, scores and visuals emerge from an intricate web of technology. With an introduction by Dorsen, and screen-shots of the system as it runs, this book elaborates both the technological and the poetic procedures of algorithmic theater.
"As Hamlet is Western lit's archetypal work about human consciousness, it's a cunning move to ask a nonhuman one to interpret it…"
"While algorithms are nothing new, in a world that has become a massive and ever-growing collection of data which only algorithms seem to have the capacity to efficiently access and interpret, it is their undeniable indispensability that is a relatively new phenomenon. What happens to theatre in this algorithmically driven world, and what becomes possible when algorithms and the software they constitute are put to work to make theatre? A Piece of Work, a piece of algorithmic theatre developed by Annie Dorsen in 2013, takes this question as a problem to be solved..."
–Ioana Jucan, TDR