Over the next 6 months, MAX will work closely with this cohort of artists and thinkers, incubating for presentation at MAX 2021: The Neuroverse.  These multidisciplinary projects explore the central themes of Neuroverse—neuroscience, AI, and the dynamically shifting human-machine collaboration.

Prometheus Firebringer

By Annie Dorsen


Proemetheus Firebringer continues Dorsen’s exploration of the multifaceted impacts of technology – and of notions of progress, autonomy, and uncertainty. The text will be developed by Dorsen in collaboration with artist and programmer Sukanya Aneja and performed by Okwui Okpokwasili. Using the predictive text-generation model GPT-3 to complete Aeschylus’ lost play Prometheus Firebringer, the team will construct and perform the 3rd episode of the trilogy. This episode includes Prometheus’ rebellion against Zeus, his punishment, and his eventual defeat and capitulation. The single line that remains from the play will be given as a prompt for the algorithm to generate possible reconstructions of the original, loosely interpreted.

The Wandering Mind

By Gershon Dublon & Xin Liu (slow immediate)


The Wandering Mind is a planetary-scale peripheral nervous system for dream states. Does the Earth dream? Can our dreams mesh? In dreams, we become free of the unrelenting coherence that waking life imposes, free to sink into the swamps of planetary perception. In the Wandering Mind, our planet meets us in our sleep, filtered through global networks of sound chopped into pieces and embedded in the latent space of a representation learning AI. The project draws source material from tens of thousands of online field recordings, assembling them into one continuous guided dream journey collaboratively composed by human performer, AI system, and sleeping audience.


By Annie Lewandowski & Kyle McDonald


Composer and performer Annie Lewandowski and artist and coder Kye McDonald explore humpback whale song in a true meeting of intelligences – humpback whale, human, and artificial. Their visually and sonically immersive piece reveals the wounded flourishing of the humpback whale, a species who continues to sing even as the menace of entanglement threatens its very existence. Siren celebrates the beauty and conservation legacy of the multi-platinum record Songs of the Humpback Whale on its 50th anniversary, while providing a window into the creative minds of our ancient mammalian relative in a contemporary experience of its ever-evolving song.




Doppelgänger is a duet for a solo performer and a live stream of the same performer. To manufacture a dialogue between the self and the self “just a few moments ago,” the latency endemic to streaming technologies is exaggerated and manipulated. If a life is a conversation between the current, past and future selves, what happens when you collapse that linear conversation (monologue) and experience it in parallel (dialogue)? Does it become more or less comprehensible? Does such an exchange constitute a true conversation or merely one that is believably true? 

The Cohort

Annie Dorsen | Prometheus Firebringer

Annie Dorsen (concept/direction) is a director and writer whose works explore the intersection of algorithmic art and live performance. Her most recent project, INFINITE SUN, is an algorithmic sound installation commissioned by the Sharjah Biennial 14. Previous performance projects, including THE GREAT OUTDOORS (2017), YESTERDAY TOMORROW (2015), A PIECE OF WORK (2013) and HELLO HI THERE (2010), have been widely presented in the US and internationally. The script for A PIECE OF WORK was published by Ugly Duckling Presse, and she has contributed essays for The Drama Review, Theatre Magazine, Etcetera, Frakcija, and Performing Arts Journal (PAJ). She is the co-creator of the 2008 Broadway musical PASSING STRANGE which she also directed. Dorsen has received a 2019 MacArthur Fellowship, a 2018 Guggenheim Fellowship, the 2018 Spalding Gray Award, a 2016 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grant to Artists Award, and the 2014 Herb Alpert Award for the Arts in Theatre.

Gershon Dublon & Xin Liu (slow immediate) | The Wandering Mind

slow immediate is the creative studio of Gershon Dublon and Xin Liu. To them, immediacy to the self and to environment is pivotal to being human on our shared planet. As artists and electrical/mechanical engineers, their practices range from performances, sculptures, and films to technological systems and academic papers. slow immediate is a member of the New Museum’s ONX Studio, and were the inaugural winners of the European ARTificial Intelligence Lab residency initiated by Ars Electronica. Their VR film, Living Distance, explores an individual’s place in the cosmos, and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival (2020). Gershon and Xin are currently visiting research scientists at De Vinci Innovation Center in Paris, developing AI methods and systems for their project, the Wandering Mind.

Annie Lewandowski | SIREN

Annie Lewandowski is a composer, performer, and senior lecturer in the Department of Music at Cornell University. In 2017, she began studying humpback whale song with pioneering bioacoustician, Katy Payne. Lewandowski’s 2018 composition, “Cetus: Life After Life,” fur humpback whale song and chimes, explores the evolution of Hawaiian humpback song from 1977-1981. She has been awarded grants from the Atkinson Center for Sustainability for her research exploring the creative minds of humpback whales, and collaborated with Google Creative Lab to create the broadly adopted public web tool Pattern Radio: Whale Song for teaching AI to recognize patterns in humpback whale song. She has released ten recordings with her band Powerdove, and has presented her work at festivals and venues across the United States and Europe, including the Casa da Musica (Porto, Portugal), the Hippodrome (London), the Frieze Arts Fair (London), and REDCAT (Los Angeles). She is a 2014 Civitella Ranieri Foundation Fellow.

Kyle McDonald | SIREN

Kyle McDonald is an artist working with code. He crafts interactive installations, sneaky interventions, playful websites, workshops, and toolkits for other artists working with code. Exploring possibilities of new technologies: to understand how they affect society, to misuse them, and build alternative futures; aiming to share a laugh, spark curiosity, create confusion, and share spaces with magical vibes. Working with machine learning, computer vision, social and surveillance tech spanning commercial and arts spaces. Previously adjunct professor at NYU’s ITP, member of F.A.T. Lab, community manager for open Frameworks, and artist in residence at STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at CMU, and YCAM in Japan. Work commissioned and shown around the world, including: the V&A, NTT ICC, Ars Electronica, Sonar, Today’s Art, and Eyebeam.

NUUM | Doppelgänger

NUUM is a collective of multidisciplinary artists committed to bringing multiple forms together into a total work of art. We work across a broad range of forms including movement, sound, text, visual art and codified rules of interaction.

We examine each form through the lens of an adjacent one by asking some basic questions about sensing and cognition. What do we (not) see? What’s real? What’s manufactured? What is merely after-taste? How does movement define space? How does stillness define movement? How does language subvert our senses? And how do participation and choice craft a narrative that holds the audience in a tighter embrace?

Our work has been supported by Culture Hub, The Movement Lab at Barnard College, MANA Contemporary, The Center for Ballet and The Arts, The National Endowment for the Arts among others.

MAXmachina artists will investigate how neuroscience deepens our understanding of human experiences, how AI harvests our impulses, and how both are redefining what it means to be alive. See you at Neuroverse in 2021!

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