Hito Steyerl and Mark Waschke
I Play Therefore I Am! A Digital Peasant Revolt

Stage performance / Commissioned work



Production specifics
Commissioned and produced by steirischer herbst ʼ21

Wearing knight’s armor and playing computer games, Tatort actor Mark Waschke and artist Hito Steyerl trace and explore feudal conditions in the theater and in the digital world.

In a mix of live performance, documentary fiction, and computer game footage, Steyerl and Waschke reflect on today’s theatrical and digital culture and playfully tell the story of how humans transform into “bots” and back again—both today and in early modern times. Tracing today's “bots” back to the “robot” labor duties of Austrian peasants, Steyerl delves into her own family history—which may or may not have been intertwined with the peasant uprisings of the time. 

The unusual content of the piece is delivered in an unusual form. In the spirit of audience empowerment, it is presented not only as an on-site performance in an auditorium, but also as a live, unedited multi-angle stream that viewers can mix interactively in a specially developed, easy-to-use online player.

Play: Hito Steyerl, Mark Waschke
Actors: Mark Waschke, Rosa Waschke
Producer, assistant director: Hanna Mattes
TABS gameplay recordings and technical assistance: Lucas Gutierrez
Costume design: Lea Søvsø
Music: Dirk Leupolz
Additional music: Biosphere, “Deviation”; and from freesound.org: Humanoide9000, “superhero fanfare”; Fons, “industrie schreeuw 1”; Michael-DB, “Cinematic Music - Relinquish”; Oymaldonado, “metal loop”
Special thanks: Landfall Games, Deutsches Theater Berlin