MTNow Archive Search

MTN provides detailed information on various projects from the 2015 competition. Further material (like artist CVs) and videos are accessible only in Berlin in the MIME Centre media library.

Editions from 2008 and 2012 are envisaged to be included in the near future.


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Desiring Machines
An Experimental Opera
Duration in minutes:
Dutch, English
Total number of performers:
Theatrical form (Opera, Performance, Instrumental Theatre, Other):
Stage form:
Black Box

Project description:
“Desiring Machines” is an experimental opera based on a series of mythical female figures. Music and Dramatic installations for voice, instrumental trio, electronics and video, accented with manifestations in which the characters appear as visual and audible points on a pitch-dark stage. The title of this work is taken from the novel "Envy" (1927) by the author Yury Olesha. Here is the machine "Ophelia", that one of the main characters invented, described: "Sings our love songs now, stupid love songs of flowers of old age. It falls in love, is jealous, cries, has dreams ... ". These are universal human characteristics, which in many ways go to all the female characters we work with. This we have developed as a concept in the context of Deleuze / Guattari's thoughts on "Desiring Machines" (from the book "Anti-Oedipus"): We see these characters as machinery, which, like Ophelia, both productive mechanical machines but also goes out of their static roles and take part in the action - "heavy rows to the new era" (Olesha). On this basis, we wanted to multiply up this Ophelia computer, to apply to a majority of the machines - a majority of female figures that make up a larger circuit. This is specified in the project's movements: the characters appear in glimpses - "unlock the silence" - which points to a dark stage where they can not be grasped as a whole, either in time or as body. Various types of distortions and shadows makes each character only perceived as isolated body parts, movements and images. Thus, each female figure will be tied to a part of the body. Audibly the piece works with distance: it constantly switch between music produced in the room and the sound that the audience will get directly to their ears through nearfield headphones. This distance is also created through a musical range from sheer light coat of the early Baroque to electronic music - all filtered and composed together into a whole.
Responsible institution, ensemble or person:
Erik Dæhlin

Erik Daehlin
Author of text:
Edy Poppy, Hanne Ramsdal, Mette Karlsvik, Eirik Fauske, Marco Demian Vitanza, Marilyn Monroe, Heiner Müller, William Shakespeare, Pier Paolo Pasolini
Stage director:
Erik Daehlin
Stage designer:
Tormod Lindgren
Amund Sjølie Sveen
Lightning design:
Erik Daehlin
Erik Daehlin (Idea)

Date of first performance:
Number of seats:
Producers; Co-Producers:
Erik Dæhlin / Produsentbyrået - Morten Kippe; Dramatikkens Hus, Festispillene i Bergen, Brageteateret

Year of MTN:
Music Theatre Now, Musiktheater, Musikperformance
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