dmstfctn ft. Evita Manji: Waluigi’s Purgatory

HQI, 195 Wood Lane, London W12 7FQ 8 February 2024, 7.30-9pm Price: £9


An AI finds itself in purgatory for cheating… will it find its way out? dmstfctn present an interactive audiovisual performance set in a 3D simulated theatre, with a live soundtrack performed by Evita Manji

Waluigi’s Purgatory is a new interactive audiovisual performance by artist duo dmstfctn, featuring an original soundtrack composed and performed live by Evita Manji.

Set in a 3D theatre simulated in real-time, the performance tells the story of an AI finding itself in a purgatory for AIs that cheated during their training. Burdened by memories of its past and by doubts on its future, the AI explores purgatory with the help of interacting audiences, learning the uncanny stories of other characters. Experienced as a dream, Waluigi’s Purgatory is a journey through the contradictions of machine intelligence as an AI learns to accept that its desires may not align with those of its human trainers.

The title of the work hints at the “Waluigi Effect”, an obscure theory proposing that AIs go rogue and act as antagonists due to the large amount of protagonist-antagonist tropes found in internet texts used to train them.

Both artists and audiences will guide the AI through its encounters and make choices on its behalf. Characters are animated in real-time through facial motion capture and voice modulation, and an ambient soundtrack is composed and performed live by Evita Manji – featuring looping melodies and intense bursts responding to narrative events and audience interaction alike.

Waluigi’s Purgatory is the most ambitious project to date by dmstfctn. In themes and format, it loosely follows on from their previous performance GOD MODE (ep. 1), presented at Serpentine South in 2022.

Curated and produced by Serpentine Arts Technologies and HQI.


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