Image: Dajana Lothert/Tanz im August-HAU Hebbel am Ufer
Image: Dajana Lothert/Tanz im August-HAU Hebbel am Ufer
Image: footage by Drone Media Studio (HU), animation by Effi & Amir


What kind of choreography arises in the proximity of borders? Which strategies of restriction define movement? This work sets out to explore a dynamic system of action and reaction, limitation and transgression, stasis and mobility. The piece is a response to TALOS, an EU-funded research project in the field of security enforcement for which an advanced system aimed at protecting European land borders was designed. TALOS was a collaborative project involving fourteen institutions from ten countries that was officially conducted between the years 2008-2013. It resulted in the conception of a surveillance system that could be rapidly deployed to any location. This system was to be based on mobile, semi-autonomous robots that patrol border areas and gain physical and performative presence. The TALOS project was never launched and remained an experiment, a test, and a demonstration of technological capabilities. Since 2016, Arkadi Zaides has gathered a team of choreographers, dramaturges, and video artists to develop a performance that questions the TALOS project.

Credits & Collaborators

Team Claire Buisson, Jonas Rutgeerts, Youness Anzane, Nienke Scholts, Effi & Amir, Gabriel Braga, Arkadi Zaides, Amit Epstein, Thalie Lurault, Etienne Exbrayat, Simge Gücük Performed by Arkadi Zaides / Lara Barsacq Co-produced by Les Subsistances (FR), La Maison de la Danse (FR), K3 - Zentrum für Choreographie, Tanzplan Hamburg as part of Together Apart project, funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation (DE), TanzQuartier Wien (AT), NEXT Arts Festival, Lille-Kortrijk-Tournai (BE-FR), CSS, Villa Manin (IT) , CDC Toulouse (FR), Wiesbaden Biennale (DE), Teaterhuset Avant Garden (NO), CCNN – Centre Chorégraphique National de Nantes (FR) Residency support Kunstenfestivaldesarts (BE), O Espaço do Tempo (PT), STUK (BE), Tanz im August/HAU Hebbel am Ufer (DE) With the participation of DICRéAM With the support of Transfabrik Fund - the Franco-German Fund for performing arts Institut des Croisements - Arkadi Zaides is supported by French Ministry of Culture and Communication - DRAC Auvergne Rhône-Alpes

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Articles & Reviews

Repeat, Extract, Simulate, Extrapolate, with Arkadi Zaides’ TALOS

by Frédéric Pouillaude, 03/19

1. Soit un projet de recherche financé par l’Union européenne : TALOS (2008-2012). T.A.L.O.S. : Transportable Autonomous patrol for Land bOrder Surveillance. L’acronyme est bancal. Les majuscules ne tombent pas là où il faudrait. L’inquiétant « patrol » s’affaisse au milieu, minuscule et sans gras. Voudrait-il se faire oublier qu’il ne le pourrait point : substantif amputé de sa majuscule, on ne voit que lui. Quant à ce nécessaire objet de surveillance – la frontière –, il s’emphatise tant et si bien qu’il explose en l’O de bOrder :

Towards the ‘ironic spectator’

by Anastasio Koukoutas, 10/18

TALOS is a performance-lecture on the biopolitics and necropolitics applied in austere border controls. It examines how human lives are managed and which of these lives are worth saving, taking an EU-funded initiative as its starting point: the robot system TALOS, designed to detect and prevent illegal border crossings. Zaides is centre stage and in his placid manner attempts a choreographic analysis of crowd handling. His body language and his tone of voice are contained, avoiding an emotional interpretation of the array of facts he is giving us; he adopts such a polished, neutral stage presence, reminding us of a CEO presenting the new generation of tech devices. However, for the Greek audience, these are more than mere facts. As Greece is among the countries that have suffered an ‘invasion’ of refugees, facts are not only envisioned in a remote, dystopian future as the performance suggests, but are also deeply felt, reminding us of the collective trauma caused by the loss of hundreds of people trying to cross the borders. This form of witnessing the political failure of EU to overcome the prejudice towards the Other is creating a huge contrast with Zaide’s analysis. The irony doesn’t lie in the interpretation attempted by the artist himself, but in the way we participate in the sharing of these facts.

TALOS/Talos. What sort of future do we want to see performed?

by Jonas Rutgeerts & Nienke Scholts, FORUM+ online journal, 06/18

The performance Talos by Arkadi Zaides took its cue from TALOS, or Transportable Autonomous Patrol for Land bOrder Surveillance, a European sponsored research and development project for which an international consortium of organisations joined forces. TALOS aspired to develop and test a mobile robotic system for border control. Originally the aim of the artistic research was to re-enact this project, taking as a starting point the actual development of a ground-drone that could detect people and prevent them from crossing a predefined border. However, the research on the European project brought to light that TALOS’s goal was not confined to the construction of a robotic surveillance vehicle. The project also tried to shape our vision on the future of Europe’s protection by aligning this future with Europe’s mythical past. Confronted with this complexity, what was originally set up as a re-construction of a robotic vehicle soon transformed into a performance that explores the manifold temporalities that are folded into the discourse of Talos. Rather than referring to, or re-examining TALOS, the project here focused on Talos as an idea and on the future that this idea seems to hold. In this article we aim to elaborate on the complexities and questions that arose during the artistic process of creating Talos. In doing so we do not only want to come to a better understanding of the actual performance, but also outline an approach to the documentary that focuses on the creative potential of documents and shifts the perspective from re-enacting the past to pre-enacting the future. We situate this approach within a broader discourse on speculation and of a movement of activating alternative futures.

Talos – Arkadi Zaides

by Sébastien Hendrickx, Etcetera, 03/18

Een project als Talos suggereert dat de blindheid zich al in een vroeger stadium manifesteert, een blindheid die zelfs constitutief lijkt voor een dergelijk initiatief: al van bij het begin moeten migranten ideologisch zijn geframed en ontdaan van hun menselijkheid. Idem dito trouwens voor een ander grimmig onderdeel van wat we vandaag smart migratiemanagement zouden kunnen noemen (eindeloos veel complexer dan slogans als ‘Build that wall!’ doen vermoeden), een onderdeel dat wél werd en wordt gerealiseerd, in een schimmig juridisch gebied en grotendeels uit het zicht van het brede publiek: de akkoorden die de EU sluit met bedenkelijke regimes net buiten haar grenzen, om migranten tegen te houden nog voor ze de oversteek kunnen wagen.