Marco Donnarumma – Humane Methods

Production Credits

Co-produced by Centre des arts d’Enghien-les-Bains (FR) and Romaeuropa Festival (IT). With scientific institutional partners Centre National de Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and Laboratoire de Recherche en Informatique (LRI) at University Paris-Saclay. Supported by PACT Zollverein.




“Si sta come / d’autunno / sugli alberi / le foglie” G. Ungaretti

Humane Methods dissects the violence of algorithmic societies, where power structures, knowledge creation and normative criteria become means of remorseless manipulation. Through the physical and psychological brutalization of people and non-human beings, the combination of digital technologies and capitalistic urge has driven the natural ecosystem towards impending destruction.

In a landscape of ruined nature and technological relics, a community of semi-human figures lives a primal and stern existence. An artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm, left to its own devices, feeds on the biodata of the figures’ bodies as it tries to learn a meaningless sequence of numbers. It is a garden out of time, or perhaps, it is a garden within the fold of our times.

Inundating the space is a dogged, hypnotic stream of sound and light: the calculations of the AI turned into perceivable material. Thus, by dictating brightness or darkness, rhythm or stasis, the AI marks out the figures’ lives. It is computational “brute force” hammering the senses.

As in a symbiosis, both the algorithm and the figures are stuck in an ever-changing loop. It counts, they worship, they touch, they sense. It counts, they worship, they touch, they hurt, it counts, they sense, they hate. It counts, they worship, they touch, they sense, it counts, they isolate, they hate, they attack.

In a ritual of self-sacrifice a machinic deity is born in the form of twin prosthetic arms. They are without a body and use their artificial neural networks to seek flesh, dancing with the skin, the muscle and the bones. Will the ritual bring communion or tragedy?

In this community, existence is suspended: a society struggling against its own balance, torn between a moral rejection of violence and its systematic application against human’s kin and the ecosystem. It is a catastrophe out of time, or perhaps, it is a catastrophe of our times.

Cast & Crew

Development – Fronte Vacuo (Donnarumma, Pevere, Familari)
Artistic direction, performance – Marco Donnarumma, Margherita Pevere
Choreography, dramaturgy, music, machines – Marco Donnarumma
Symbionts, biomaterials – Margherita Pevere
Costumes – Margherita Pevere, Ana Rajcevic, Marco Donnarumma
Scenography – Marco Donnarumma, Margherita Pevere, Andrea Familari
Research, interactive learning technologies – Baptiste Caramiaux
Light design and stage production – Andrea Familari
Premiere ensemble – Joele Anastasi, Cora Gasparotti, Denise Gioia, Beatrice Riccardi, Massimo Sconci, Valentina Squarzoni, Andrea Tufo
Robotics and metal visual design – Ana Rajcevic
Robotics 3D modeling and engineering – Christian Schmidts
Neurorobotics advisor – Neurorobotic Research Laboratory
Photography – Manuel Vason
Live photography – Piero Tauro, Giada Spera
Production and tour management – René Dombrowski
Project management – Claudia Dorfmüller

Humane Methods is a production by Fronte Vacuo (Donnarumma, Pevere,  Familari).

Project page at