Education in the time of the planetary theatre


Performa is the planetary theatre. The one only warehouse and urban stage where every information is stored, played, exchanged and continuously elaborated through human relationships.
The human species achieved the indissoluble union of knowledge, performance and life, an evolutionary step beyond homo sapiens named homo performans.
Men and women of any age are synapsis of a network of production, reproduction and transmission of knowledge. From birth to death we are continuously immersed in the performance.
Education is the rule, the only form of life that allows simultaneously to produce, conserve and spread the enormous quantity of accumulated knowledge.


By the ‘50s of the XXI century the communicative, linguistic and relational human capabilities developed immensely. The theatre – a field of knowledge and a practice evolved from the great oral narrations but almost extinct at the beginning of the century – came back to the forefront of human activity as the most effective form of knowledge transmission. It rapidly became the only method to practice the enormous quantity of knowledge accumulated in the last century.


Since the beginning of the years 2000, thanks to the global network of computers and to the artificial memory, huge quantities of information were accumulated in the data centers. Less than 30 years after it became clear that the speed with which the computational system could process the data could never match the speed to which the data were accumulated. Thus the idea of a collective system of performative knowledge started to be developed in the computational center of Geneva. The system was named Performa.


In few years the entire scientific community shifted their interest from the machines’ computational speed and capacity to the performative and relational capabilities of human beings. Research centers, technology campuses, universities and all the media infrastructure were either abandoned or converted into sectors of Performa.


The data continued to be stored and organized in this immense planetary infrastructure. Yet the hard drives rather than being hidden in enormous dark and warm spaces – with all the energetic problems related to data fluxes and cooling – were used to construct a performative urban landscape.


Interior and exterior became conditions of the soul. The temperature, since long artificially stabilized at 27 degrees Celsius, the sign of a sentiment.


Proper objects, as they were known roughly until the half of the XXI century, disappeared and were replaced by a new kind of objects. Analogous to film props, these agglomeration of atoms multiplied exponentially thanks to the extraordinary possibilities offered by the MIDA, a highly sophisticated three dimensional printing technology.


This new kind of ‘things’ produced by the MIDA, identical to the preexisting objects with regard to the appearance, were pure commodities. They were coming out directly from knowledge without passing through use. Design, or better its material, experimental and practical component disappeared in few years.


Design remained just as mental exercise, as exemplification of a neurological connection between thought and matter. The 3D printers could directly extract thought form from the neuronal patterns and transform it into matter compositions precise to the atom.


The consensus on these transformations was unanimous, at least until the late ‘70s of the year 2000. At that point was not anymore a matter of propaganda or censorship. The end of work was welcomed simply and naturally as the greatest liberation of all times, the last one.


According to the legend Sven was the first man to notice the difference. After years spent traveling through the planetary theatre in a continuos state of performance, Sven began to feel a deep sense of nostalgia.


Nostalgia was a common sentiment among actors-citizens. A feeling that was even encouraged since it helped to exercise collective memory and therefore to produce new knowledge.


Sven instead was not able to fill this absence. He was passing from one performance to the next, entering in one scene after the other, climbing stands, throwing up parts of a continuously renewed script.


Everywhere was a monotonous and sublime landscape of stages, stalls and tribunes, covered by an endless carpet of film props. At any given moment speeches were given, stories were told, news were learned of, within the continuous ground buzz of laser readers and robotic arms.


Sven was perceiving his own presence blurring in that continuos being actor and audience. In the endless landscape of stairways and transmitted knowledge, Sven suddenly felt its own history was slipping through his fingers the same way and that smooth and perfect object was now unexpectedly falling on the ground.


Sven initially attributed this sense of illness to the buzz, to the continuous movement of people or perhaps to the constant vibration of vocal chords. But in that very moment he suddenly understood that his nostalgia was caused by the objects. True objects were the result of a knowledge acquired through experience, the unforeseeable outcome of an infinite series of mistakes, frustrations and failures.


He kept wandering around looking for objects that survived the performative revolution; industrial or artisanal artifacts whose original function was very difficult to reconstruct but that were undeniably recording the passage of time. For some uncanny reason feeling time comforted him.


To find the objects was a difficult enterprise. It was necessary to keep acting and applauding the others not to make them suspicious while at the same time precisely in those scripts and discourses endlessly performed signs, traces and clues for the research were hidden.


Some recount that, starting from a rarely visited scene, Sven built a series of ritual passages that lead to the Supermarket; an isotropic place where the objects collected in years of exhausting researches were preserved and studied by a group of faithful clerks.


Others tell that Sven found somewhere the drawings of a house project – a mythical inhabitable artifact mentioned in some unreliable legends – and that he was able to build it in a remote area of the Siberian stage. According to those storytellers he died in the attempt of remaining alone with its collection of objects.


Nobody ever found proof or traces that Sven existed. Life continues in the permanent scene. We move without doubts between buildings of uncertain nature; ruins, sets, inhabited walls, structural frames without life, black windows, domesticated nature. The city is a continuos theatre, the whole world is both stage and audience without foyer.

Education in the time of the planetary theatre


2A+P/A (Gianfranco Bombaci, Matteo Costanzo)
text by Davide Sacconi