Do you want to be part of a series of events that explores the goods and evils of digital technologies? The Faust Shop examines the pacts we make by simply following our daily lives.

We are inviting donations from the public for the exhibition on Actors on a new stage, to be held in a digital pop-up gallery in Cambridge in June 2022. Donate a digital object or artwork that explores your Faustian pact with technology.

Actors on a new stage will explore a series of questions:

  1. What does technology offer us and what might it take away?
  2. How does your experience of space change when automated actors operate alongside us and organize our interactions?
  3. How do you feel about digital futures such as the Metaverse, a 3D immersive environment shared by multiple users in real-time?

Donations can include but are not limited to formats such as images and text, animation, sound design, and short video clips (e.g. AR film). Your donation will contribute to a practice-based research project on the re-staging of public spaces, led by research fellow Annja Neumann, and by Cambridge Digital Humanities, an interdisciplinary research Centre at the University of Cambridge.

We are calling for performers interested in playing a part in the Faust Shop performance, an immersive theatrical experience in an adaptive pop-up space fitted with digital walls. We will explore how we become actors on a new stage, one that destabilises fixed notions of space and creates a digital twin of ourselves.

We are also looking for volunteers who are interested in getting involved in production and stage management. This call is limited to local contributors and will be on a volunteering basis.

What is the project about?

We have everything you want. Are you prepared to pay the price?

Technology offers us the world – but what does it take away? What is the bargain here? The Faust Shop, an immersive experience embedded in an everyday street, asks these and related questions. Stepping into this pop-up shop you’ll be offered an experience of magical space that moves you: the only question is, where to? How does digital space influence us? Should you accept this offer? We take such decisions in our everyday engagements with technology: we routinely click, accept, and agree. The Faust Shop creates a theatrical experience of sensuous delight that suggests that you might just want to think again.

The Faust Shop draws on practice-based research on theatricalisation and cross-reality performance by CDH Postdoctoral Research Fellow and dramaturg Annja Neumann. The project builds on collaborative work. This includes graphic designer, stone cutter and curator Roxanne Kindersley and web designer and activist Beatrice Murch (see People page). Faust’s ‘new borders’ relate to the ways in which our sense of space is changing in the wake of the Covid-19 Pandemic and persuasive computation.

There are two routes to beginning collaborative work with The Faust Shop:

Digital gallery: Actors on a new stage

A digitally adaptive gallery space (digital walls) in Cambridge will exhibit 10 donations (digital and analogue work) that present our Faustian pacts with digital technologies. A selection of the work may also feature in the Faust Shop performance in June 2022. If you are interested in sharing your work and thoughts about your daily interactions with digital technologies to a wider public your donation can also feature on the Faust Shop blog (optional) before entries are selected for the exhibition. It is important that you are happy to agree to a Creative Commons Licence for your work so that we can show it to the public while you have the copyright.

We will accept donations (pre-existing work and new media work including animation, digital art, (AR) video clips, images, sound design, data sculptures) that respond to our three Faustian themes:

  1. digital promise/pleasures: What does technology offer us and what does it take away from us?
  2. deals with the devil: How has your experience of space changed through automated actors who operate alongside us and organize our interactions? How do you picture your digital soul?
  3. reclaiming digital space: How do you feel about digital futures such as the Metaverse, a 3D immersive environment shared by multiple users in real-time?

If you would like to be considered for the 10 exhibition spaces, please submit your donation with a title and/or a short description by (extended deadline!) Tuesday, 20 May 2022 by 24.00 GMT. Please include your email address, full name, and the date of creation in your submission.

Accepted entries will be credited in an exhibition programme and exhibited in a pop-up gallery in Cambridge in June 2022. The Actors on a new stage pop-up exhibition will be run in collaboration with a tech start-up company and project partner Sook.

Call for actors: performing in augmented space

We are looking for local student volunteers (in Cambridge) who are interested in playing a role in a theatrical event called Faust Shop which engages with augmented reality (AR) performance. This will include text-based performance, improv and movement.

We are also looking for volunteers who are interested in getting involved in the production and stage management of the theatrical Faust Shop event.

Previous experience of performance in theatrical productions is desirable but not required. Please note that we cannot cover any travel costs or accommodation expenses.

The Faust Shop will run a set of public theatrical events and installations. In the Faust Shop performance, participants’ relationship with digital technologies will be set up through a Faustian pact, made as this phrase implies, with a power that the bargainer recognizes as evil or amoral. Such pacts are naturally self-defeating for the person who makes them, mainly because what is handed over is more valuable than what is obtained.

In Johann Wolfgang Goethe’s version of the legend, Faust does not form a pact – rather, he makes a bet: namely, that if he is ever satisfied by shallow pleasures or by a sense of having achieved his full potential, the devil may destroy him. The Faust Shop explores this Faustian bet in a digitalized world. It gives participants the opportunity to re-consider if you are satisfied with the sensuous pleasures of digital mediation. Depending on your choice, you either get the chance to undo a digital version of yourself created from the data harvested while you are interacting with The Faust Shop; or, you renew the bet and keep your digital twin.

Auditions: from 3-5pm, Friday, 11 March 2022 & Monday, 14 March 2022, in Magdalene College Cambridge

Faust Shop performance dates:

16 & 17 June 2022, 16-17:00 & 18:00-20:00 (general public), Sook Space, The Grafton Cambridge

Four Rehearsals will be scheduled for May and the beginning of June 2022.

Submit a short statement about your interest in performing for the Faust Shop or in becoming involved in the technical team or production team and book an audition slot by Monday, 7 March 2022.