• Illuminations 2022/23: Human and Machine
Home » Learn » Illuminations » Illuminations 2022/23

2022/23 Season

Illuminations: “Human and Machine”

Illuminations connects groundbreaking UC Berkeley scholarship to themes taken up by the world-class music, dance, and theater presented by Cal Performances. Illuminations programming, which includes performances, panel discussions, lecture demonstrations, Q&As, and more, sheds light on pressing topics with the power to transform our understanding of the world and shape the future.

Through the 2022–23 season theme “Human and Machine,” Illuminations explores the many roles technology plays in both catalyzing and challenging creative expression and human communication. Onstage performances, public programs, and conversations will engage communities on and off campus to explore how the arts, the humanities, and the sciences grapple with the influence of technology on human expression. Through six main stage performances and even more educational events held in partnership with thought leaders (to be announced soon!), Illuminations programming follows the evolution of musical instruments, the complex relationships between technology creators and users, technology’s impact on the creative process, and the benefits and potential dangers of the growing role of artificial intelligence in our society.

Artist Partner

Every year, we select an Artist Partner who embodies the intersection of the arts and our Illuminations theme to help frame our public and campus-facing programs, such as Q&As, master classes, lecture demonstrations, and more. This year’s “Human and Machine” artist partner is Colm Ó Riain. Colm is a professional violinist, composer, and the Head of Growth at the Machine Intelligence Research Institute. Colm is particularly interested in the places where creativities meet — between myriad human cultures as well as between humans and our machines, especially artificial intelligence.

Design Committee

Our Illuminations Design Committee is made up of UC Berkeley faculty, staff, and students, each with relevant expertise to our theme. Through their involvement, Cal Performances is able to curate a much richer series of public and campus-facing programs that encapsulates UC Berkeley research and speaks directly to our campus community. This year, our “Human and Machine” design committee is:

  • David Bamman, Associate Professor for UC Berkeley’s School of Information
  • Edmund Campion, Director of UC Berkeley’s Center for New Music & Audio Technology
  • Deirdre English, Continuing Lecturer for UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism
  • Jeremy Geffen, Cal Performances Executive & Artistic Director
  • Ehud (Udi) Isacoff, Director of the Berkeley Brain Initiative at UC Berkeley
  • Massimo Mazzotti, Thomas Siebel Professor of the History of Science in UC Berkeley’s Department of History
  • Lance Nagel, Cal Performances Board Co-Chair
  • Nassirah Nelson, undergraduate double major in Engineering & Art + Design
  • Greg Niemeyer, Cofounder of UC Berkeley’s Center for New Media, Human Technology Futures
  • Jennifer Urban, Clinical Professor of Law at UC Berkeley, Director of Policy Initiatives for the Samuelson Law Technology & Policy Clinic, and faculty co-director of the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology
  • Lisa Wymore, Professor of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies at UC Berkeley

2022/23 Season Illuminations Performances

Recital, Illuminations: Human and Machine

Kristian Bezuidenhout, harpsichord and fortepianos

Oct 30, 2022, 3pm

Keyboard virtuoso Kristian Bezuidenhout has programmed a recital that illustrates the evolution of the keyboard predecessors of the
modern piano, celebrating these instruments as gloriously man-made inventions and marvels of human ingenuity.

New Music, Illuminations: Human and Machine, Percussion Festival

Colin Currie Group
Synergy Vocals

A Steve Reich Celebration

Colin Currie, conductor and percussion

Nov 3, 2022, 7:30pm

Percussionist Colin Currie’s acclaimed ensemble is devoted to realizing the musical vision of Steve Reich, the maverick minimalist composer whose innovations and experimentation went on to redefine the sound of 21st-century chamber music.

New Music, Illuminations: Human and Machine, Percussion Festival

Sō Percussion

Nov 12, 2022, 8pm

Sō Percussion navigates the addition of novel sounds—noisemakers, computer timekeeping devices, pre-recorded samples and loops—and unseen electronic collaborators into their performance environment to realize works exploring complex human emotions.

Theater/Opera, Illuminations: Human and Machine

William Kentridge’s
SIBYL

US Premiere

With music composed and conceived by Nhlanhla Mahlangu and Kyle Shepherd

Mar 17–19, 2023

In his meticulously crafted new chamber opera, revered South African artist William Kentridge connects ancient wisdom with modern data-tracking and ruminates on the role of algorithms in contemporary life.

Theater/Opera, Illuminations: Human and Machine, New Music

Michel van der Aa’s
Blank Out

West Coast Premiere

Apr 28–29, 2023

In composer and producer Michel van der Aa’s genre-defying chamber opera Blank Out, video and electronic music techniques entwine to invoke the textured, fragmented experience of processing personal tragedy and loss.

Theater/Opera, Illuminations: Human and Machine

Octavia E. Butler’s
Parable of the Sower

Bay Area Premiere

May 5–6, 2023

Octavia E. Butler’s dystopian novel Parable of Sower is realized as a congregational opera by the daughter/mother musical team of Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon, exploring humanity’s attempts to recover and heal itself after its dependence on technology has gone too far.