Digital Tabernacle

Lock away your (de)vices and immerse your soul in contemplation. The Ministers of the Digital Tabernacle will inspire you to observe a period of digital abstinence and confess your digital sins. You will be filled with analog grace and a new light will shine on your tweeting, texting, and selfie-posing. Don’t self-document. Repent. Marcel O’Gorman of Canada’s University of Waterloo will be the arch-minister to your needs.

Morphing Our Identities

Future Face Lounge is a space where participants define their own histories and forecast their futures, and a new community is formed. When visitors enter Future Face Lounge, they reveal personal facts through touchscreen prompts, while cameras capture their faces. Programs translate their information into moving abstracted forms of light projected on a lounge wall. As more people enter the lounge – engaging each other – more visualization occurs, building layers of geometric forms. Visual forms related to a visitor’s personal history eventually disappear and personal forecasts remain.  Think of it as a futuristic carnival of categorization in a peaceful gathering place of colorful, moving light.

You Are the City You Build

Ever consider crowd-sourcing the design of a building? Of a city? The voices of a choir and the stones of a building have much in common. At Emerge 2014, join John Ball of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts – the founder and president of Metropolitan Building Workshop as well as a practicing architect and painter/sculptor/collage artist – in creating “architecture by everyone.”

When Your Dance Is Controlled by Your Phone

John Cage Meets “A Chorus Line”
You think social media is pervasive now?  Explore what happens when the exchange of knowledge, ideas, words, and emotions in social media is transformed into live interactions. In this dance performance at Emerge 2014 called “The Still,” see what happens when the desires for both privacy and anonymity combine with an appetite to be noticed and to maintain and develop relationships. In the piece, seven dancers stand in a ring, blind to the physical presence of the others in their space. They move when triggered by their cellphones vibrating from randomly selected contact on their social media friend list. The work is created by Julie Akerly of the School of Film, Dance and Theatre at ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

You Are What You Play

The STEAM Carnival, based in Los Angeles, hooks players with high-energy amusements that  leverage their interests in music, fashion, and games to expose them to the STEAM disciplines – science, technology, engineering, art, and math. To Emerge 2014, they will bring three attractions:

“Magic Mirror” takes the joy of the funhouse mirror experience to new heights. Experience any number of hilarious, bizarre and striking possibilities such as the Face Replace mode (inheriting a fully rendered Einstein among countless others), jump ahead of yourself in time, and much more!

STEAM Carnival Magic Mirror

In “Joust,” music and movement combine in a super interactive, digitally-enabled playground. Jostle your opponents’ controllers while protecting your own as you match your movement to the music and create a dancing, multiplayer duel.

STEAM Carnival Joust

“The Game Table” is a fun magnet that brings friends and strangers together around a selection of favorite arcade games. Up to 6 players can play at once.

STEAM Carnival Game Table

For more on the The STEAM Carnival, visit

There Is Danger

“There Is Danger” is an Americana dream-pop band which brims with “lush bedroom-pop heartbreakers suitable for your next 4 a.m. drive out of town.” You can hear the wanderlust in the music. The lyrics address themes of new places, old flames, and temporary roots, and each song unfolds like a well-creased road map. At Emerge 2014 they will perform with our synchronized, choreographed, quadcopter drones. Their debut album is “Living Dreams.” Learn more at


When Our Most Physically Articulate Humans and Our Most Physically Articulate Robots Perform Together

Our man Baxter is supposedly the world’s first industrial robot capable of being taught to dance by two clowns and an aerialist. We shall see if this is true inside our Emerge 2014 carnival tent. For this ensemble effort, we are informed, the aerialist will be doing a mix of trapeze and silk work. Lance Gharavi, ASU’s chair of the MA in Theatre program at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts; and Srikanth Saripalli, the robot herder of ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration, are behind all this. Do you have any idea how hard it is to erect an aerial rig under a carnival tent in a fashion such that our singing drones – theirs is a separate performance, see “When the Robots Give Voice to Our Songs” – don’t crash into it?

Read Lance Gharavi’s article on Slate

Image courtesy of Steve Jurvetson, used under a Creative Commons license. Thanks Steve!

Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra

If the rousingly upbeat Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra doesn’t have you “shaking your tailfeathers,” as the band likes to say, please consult your coroner. The group featured under our Emerge 2014 carnival tent is a collective of 14 musicians representing some 20 other area bands including Cheri Cheri, Drunken Immortals, Zero Zero, Playboy Manbaby, Spirit Cave and The Sweet Bleeders.

Watch a live performance snippet | Read a review in Phoenix New Times

Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra

Where You Are Is Who You Are

Your identity is shaped by your place, as well as who you’re with and your cultural connections.  As our technology changes, the line between what is you and not you also changes. At Emerge 2014, roam through the strange structure created by the legendary science fiction writer Bruce Sterling (our “Visionary in Residence”) and the Turin (Italy) Maker Lab, as this environment changes its shape and motion in reaction to your personal choices. It’s called “My Future Frontier / Mi Futura Frontera” – a vision of borderlands to come.

When the Robots Give Voice to Our Songs

When our robots become as integral to your perceptions of “me” as your hand or your arm, you will remember Emerge 2014. That’s the time you first saw amazing musicians teaching drones to sing. The choreographed quadcopters will perform with New-Yorker-magazine-immortalized experimental “interspecies” musician David Rothenberg, who will be flying in from Berlin, as well as the band There Is Danger, whose specialty is the “4 a.m. drive out of town” sound. The multi-talented drones will swarm out of the ASU labs of Srikanth Saripalli.

Recommended Links

Sri Saripalli’s Autonomous System Technologies Research & Integration Laboratory (ASTRIL) at ASU:

On David Rothenberg’s interspecies music projects:
David Rothenberg

When Medicine Becomes Extremely Personal

Imagine that at birth, your genome is sequenced and – forever after – disease prevention, detection and treatment is unique to you. Forget routine annual checkups. You now have continuous health feedback through mobile devices and wearables. The oldest and most accomplished user interface – that of another human being – plays a central role in your healthcare, but now maybe through a house call! At Emerge 2014, engage with ASU Biodesign Institute’s Virginia G. Piper Center for Personalized Diagnostics as we make this future your reality. Imagine what it will be like to be a vastly healthier you, empowered with the knowledge to transform your life.


What Should We Do?

Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics WordmarkWhat does Emerge have to do with ethics? The question came up today, because the Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics is one of our major partners.

The answer can’t be emphasized more frequently.

The whole point of Emerge is to dramatically address this core issue:  We’re at a turning point in history – we can do almost anything. What should we do?

That is the core question of ethics:  What should we do?

That’s why all the 14 major performances and events in our March 7th Carnival of the Future address daring questions like “You Thought Colonoscopies Were Personal? You Don’t Understand.  Here Comes Real Personalized Medicine.” And, “You, Me, and Death.” And “When the Robots Give Voice to Our Songs.”

Be thinking about this when you dust off your circus hat and visit our tent. Because we want to know what you think: what should we do?

Dancers, Industrial Robots and Aerial Rigs

Do you have any idea how complicated it is to figure out how to rig an aerial trapeze inside a circus tent? On a rubble-strewn vacant lot in downtown Phoenix? Because that’s what our Emerge dancers want? These are the performers who are teaching our industrial robot, Baxter, how to dance. They are not to be confused with the set of performers who are creating a symphonic duet with our four choreographed, flying, talking, singing quadracopter robots? And oh, by the way, how do you make sure the drones don’t hit the trapeze rig? Mark your calendar: March 7th is the third annual “Emerge: Artists + Scientists Redesign the Future” event. Our theme this year is “The Future of Me.” Y’all come!


Image courtesy of Steve Jurvetson, used under a Creative Commons license. Thanks Steve!