Ezra Veldhuis,
Ezra Veldhuis & Bosse Provoost,
Bosse Provoost,
B, E,
Portretwebsite 3
Bosse Provoost Oshin Albrecht
All Watchedover By Machinesof Loving Grace klein

In All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace, Ezra Veldhuis and Bosse Provoost address the the­me of free­dom and unfree­dom in rela­ti­on to tech­no­lo­gy, by sta­ging Richard Brautigan’s 1967 poem of the same name.

Brautigan’s poem depicts a cyber­ne­tic gar­den of Eden, an idyll in which machi­nes will free us from work. Anno 2022, we may read this poem very dif­fe­rent­ly than Brautigan inten­ded at the time. When we think of tech­no­lo­gy in rela­ti­on to free­dom, Big Tech and sur­veil­lan­ce tech­no­lo­gy domi­na­te our ima­gi­na­ti­on. We seem to be at the ser­vi­ce of tech­no­lo­gy, rather than tech­no­lo­gy pro­vi­ding us with essen­ti­al free­dom. Does that mean Brautigan’s dream is dead? Are we alrea­dy living in a total­ly per­ver­ted rea­li­za­ti­on of it? Or does the free­dom pro­mi­sed in his dream still con­tain poten­ti­al? This is what Veldhuis and Provoost will explo­re in their new cre­a­ti­on, by sta­ging a bio-tech­ni­cal envi­ron­ment”: a con­stel­la­ti­on of peo­p­le (three performers,the audien­ce), mate­ri­als and devi­ces in a cli­ma­te of light and sound. Within that envi­ron­ment, accom­pa­nied by an eclec­tic musi­cal palet­te, they depict rela­ti­ons­hips of inter­de­pen­d­en­cy, both sym­bi­o­tic and con­flic­tu­al, bet­ween the human and non-human actors. 

I like to think (and
the sooner the bet­ter!)
of a cyber­ne­tic mea­dow
whe­re mam­mals and com­pu­ters
live together in mutu­al­ly
pro­gram­ming har­mo­ny
like pure water
tou­ching clear sky.

I like to think
(right now plea­se!)
of a cyber­ne­tic forest
fil­led with pines and elec­tro­nics
whe­re deer stroll pea­ce­ful­ly
past com­pu­ters
as if they were flo­wers
with spin­ning blossoms.

I like to think
(it has to be!)
of a cyber­ne­tic eco­lo­gy
whe­re we are free of our labors
and joi­ned back to natu­re,
retur­ned to our mam­mal
bro­thers and sis­ters,
and all wat­ched over
by machi­nes of loving grace.

—Richard Brautigan
Concept, lighting en scenography
Ezra Veldhuis & Bosse Provoost
Nathan Ooms, Bosse Provoost, Ezra Veldhuis
Estefanía Álvarez Ramírez, Jayson Batut, Nathan Ooms
Costume design
Carly Rae Heathcote
Sound design
Benne Dousselaere
Execution set
Sibran Sampers
Outside eye
Marc Vanrunxt
Cesar Vromman
NEXT Festival, auawirleben Theaterfestival Bern, SPRING Performing Arts Festival, C-TAKT, Kunstenwerkplaats, Per Podium
With support of
CAMPO, STUK, Kunst/Werk, Kunstencentrum BUDA, De Grote Post, LeBamp, Flemish goverment
all watched over by machines of loving grace-Richard Brautigan