Charged with the task of spiritually preparing the human race for the coming of the singularity, The Night Bears masquerade as a New York City based media and performance collective. The group investigates narrow sense-apertures to locate the spaces where the divide between biology and technology will eventually dissolve. The Bears tell stories with subtle light in darkness, small indications of depth in flatness, tiny sounds in silence, near-stillness in stillness. They tell timeless tales of sex and death, human-machine collaboration and conflict, and universal journeys of self-discovery and transcendence. The group’s founding members — John J.A. Jannone, Daniel Munkus, and Sophia Remolde — forge their work from the interplay of their seemingly polar and contradictory, and often extreme, physical and philosophical practices. They knit their work from Butoh, Suzuki, Zen Buddhism, martial arts, and contact improvisation; and weave in shiny threads of media, robotics, coding, music, and puppetry.
We work in the context of the coming Singularity. We belong to the last human generations that will live out the majority of their lives as fully biological beings. When computer intelligence overtakes human intelligence (as early as 2030 according to some scientists), the rate at which the total body of human knowledge multiplies will become literally unimaginable. The entire corpus of human thought might double in depth and complexity in moments, and then double again, and again. Within our lifetimes, our biological selves will be scanned into the machine and second, immortal phases of our lives will begin. We will live in total and inseparable collaboration with technology.
In our current pre-Singularity world, we see biology and technology, and therefore nature and technology, as distinct. This current relationship with technology-as-other is something to be cherished; and it is about to be lost. We experience mysterious feelings when interacting with technology: The pleasure of light playing on skin, the warmth of sound washing over us, the shudder and tightness in the chest we experience when communing with the machine. Technology is still a new lover – we are entranced by the mystery and otherness of it. All too soon we will be one with the machine. This is why we must collaborate with technology now, in our mutual naïveté: We touch it and it does not feel us; yet we can imagine that it feels us, and we are moved. Soon, what we touch, and the feeling we have of touching it, will also be it and us; the sense that technology is “other” will be the maya of the new age.