Das totale Tanz Theater

A Virtual Reality Dance Installation for Man and Machine

Who are humans in the age of technology? What role do they play and how do they interact with the machines that surround them? These types of questions were already negotiated at the Bauhaus 100 years ago. Das Totale Tanz Theater frames these questions today in the context of the development of artificial intelligence by staging a virtual reality dance experience.

Using VR headsets, visitors can immerse themselves in a vast virtual stage where they are invited to activate a “Tanzmaschine” (dance machine) and experience a dance choreography over three levels. The lingering question accompanying them on their journey is the extent to which they are truly able to interact with the space and the machine. The entanglement of human choreography, personal intervention and machine algorithms results in new forms of movement and dance in space. The interplay of dance, scenography, costume design and sound design with state-of-the-art digital technology creates a fascinating artistic world of total theater. Inspired by Oskar Schlemmer’s stage experiments and Walter Gropius’ ideas on total theater, DAS TOTALE TANZ THEATER allows visitors to immerse themselves in this world.


Idea & Story: Diana Schniedermeier und Maya Puig
Lead VR Creators: Maya Puig, Patrik de Jong, Dirk Hoffmann
Lead Technologists: Torsten Sperling, Sebastian Hein
Executive Producer: Diana Schniedermeier
Choreography: Richard Siegal
Composer: Lorenzo Bianchi-Hoesch
Dancers: Margarida Neto, Claudia Ortiz Arraiza, Corey Scott-Gilbert, DiegoTortelli
Voice: Blixa Bargeld
Creative Producer: Maya Puig
Costumes: Dirk Hoffmann, Nico Alexander Taniyama
Concept: Dirk Hoffmann, Patrik de Jong
Art Directors: Dirk Hoffmann, Nico Alexander Taniyama, Robert Werner
3D Artist Lead: Nico Alexander Taniyama
3D Artists: Christian Rambow, Dana Würzburg
Choreography Programming: Torsten Sperling
Technologists: Dennis Timmermann, Hui-Yuan Tienj
Sound Design: Victor Audouze
Installation Architecture: Unit Berlin
Motion Capture Facilitators: Mimic Productions
Project Management: Thorsten Schwarck, Jochen Watral, Kristin Sperling
Co-Producers: Saskia, Kress, Michael Grotenhoff

Germany, 2019

Das Totale Tanz Theater is a project of Interactive Media Foundation and Filmtank, co-created with Artificial Rome, part of the project Bauhaus Spirit, funded by Fonds Bauhaus heute of the Federal Cultural Foundation and the Medienboard Berlin Brandenburg.

A meditative immersive media experience in a hand-drawn landscape of ancient bristlecone pine trees, sculpted organic matter, and transmuted earthy-electro sounds; get lost in an interactive sacred space. Following a trail of strange plants to the center of a mushroom ring, the viewer is transported into the forest. A timed, music scored, meditative experience begins as the user glides through the virtual space by swinging their arms with touch controllers as if walking. Viewers can move freely in and out of the sculptures and explore spatialized musical elements as they are gently guided through four abstract scenes.


Design and Animation: Kelsey Boncato
Music and Technical Development: Daniel Oldham
Interactive Designer: Bryan Zhang
Lead Cellist: Yoshika Masuda
Lead Vocalist: Madison Stoddard

USA, 2019

What if your home becomes the place you fear? An Iraqi father returns to Fallujah to face the threat of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Join him in his home and discover the unfolding of a tragic event.

“Home After War” is a room-scale, interactive virtual reality experience that takes you to Fallujah, a city that was, until recently, under Islamic State (IS) control. The war against IS has ended but the city is still unsafe. There’s one looming fear for returning refugees – booby trapped homes and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in the neighbourhoods. Since the end of the war, thousands of civilians have died or been injured by IEDs.


Written and directed by: Gayatri Parameswaran
Executive Producer: Amy Seidenwurm
Creative Producer: Felix Gaedtke

Producer: Sandra Bialystok, Lauren Burmaster, Paula Cuneo,
NowHere Media Production
Production manager: Felix Gaedtke
Lead developer & UX designer: Anastasia Semenoff
Photogrammetry studio: Realities.io, David Finsterwalder, Daniel Sproll, Valerio Rizzo, Marcel Poppe, Shahriar Shahrabi
Local producer & Translator (Iraq): Suadad Al Salhy
Director of Photography (360° videos): Felix Gaedtke, Gayatri Parameswaran
Photogrammetry scans: Felix Gaedtke
Sound recordist: Ali Adnan
360° Editing: Gayatri Parameswaran
Post Production: Flight School
Music by: Leonard Petersen
Sound design: Studio am Fluss, Jana Irmert, Nils Vogel-Bartling
Voice over artist: Michael Matovu (Voiced by Mike)
Impact Producer: Catarina Gomes
Production assistants (Berlin): Mia von Kolpakow, Felix Franz
Translator and transcriber: Amor Belhaj Salah
Translation assistance: Basma Elmahdy, Karim Ali
Narrative Installation: Trix.space, Winnie Christensen, Ivana Rohr

Germany/USA/Switzerland/Iraq, 2018

An invocation of the languages that have gone extinct and an incantation of those that are endangered. In collaboration with VR pioneer Nonny de la Peña and Emblematic Group, Herzog has created an immersive VR oratorio in three parts. Each part will be comprised of its own standalone VR experience and embody three distinct expressions that viscerally answer the question of how to tell an extinction whose form is silence.

With the support of the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme at SOAS University of London, The Smithsonian, The Rosetta Project and over a dozen other world archives and the generous help of The Simons Foundation, Herzog and her team created a spatialized sound composition from the world’s greatest linguistic archives.

How can one address an extinction the form of which is silence?—Making what has gone silent alive and present to us. Binaural or 8.1 (octophonic) sound projection is perceived by the human ear as distinct and genuine 360 degree immersive soundscape. Such immersive sound environments prompt the brain to perceive these voices as “present.” Created using the Unreal game engine, each language in the experience is anchored within the 3D space to a beacon of light that represents the geographical location on the globe where that language originated from.

Animation and imagery in LAST WHISPERSis precise and abstract at the same time. The locations of the languages, marked with pulsing dots, are GPS tied on the contours of the continents and countries. Yet the real topography of the globe is substituted by the “digital quilt blanket sewn” from satellite photographs of catastrophic climate events reflecting one of the reasons for human migration and dislocation, including a linguistic one.

The trajectory of these vanishing voices begins far away, like a distant echo. This chorus comes closer and closer and then envelops the visitor. The “others” become familiar and real until the visitor falls into breathing with them at the last exhale.

It is the first VR of it’s kind that transports audiences into a virtual landscape composed of the fabric of vanishing voices accompanied by original animation that poetically links image and sound. LAST WHISPERS is co-presented by UNESCO, who, along with the UN General assembly, have declared 2019 The Year of Indigenous Languages. The 360 version of Last Whispers was shown at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington DC to 500 people in a synced screening at the Terrace Theater which was presented by the Smithsonian.


Director: Lena Herzog
Producer: Nonny de la Peña
Technical Director: Jonathan Yomayuza
Executive Producers: Meghan McWilliams, Cedric Gamelin

USA, 2018/2019