Alter Ego Bootleg

a multimedia puppet show in three rooms

By Helgard Haug / Stefan Kaegi

Can puppets be seen as the predecessors of artificial intelligence? Where is the boundary between the visible threads of that original avatar, the puppet, and the algorithms of an automated, or even self-learning system?
The first year-long exhibition in the Puppentheatersammlung’s new home in Kraftwerk Mitte is an immersive multimedia installation. The multi-room experience was conceived, designed and realised by the internationally renowned label Rimini Protokoll. Travelling through the spaces of the exhibition, the audience falls under the spell of an automated presentation in which puppet theatre becomes a metaphor for a digital world full of invisible threads.

The legend of the autonomous puppet, a puppet that rebels against its creator and player can be found throughout the history of puppet theatre. Time and again, our perception, fired on by our empathy and our mirror neurones, has emancipated the puppets and made them independent. That legend is seamlessly adaptable to the virtual stage of digital image production, where it has taken on a new political explosiveness.


Concept / Text / Director: Helgard Haug, Stefan Kaegi 
Scenography: Evi Bauer 
Dramaturgy: Imanuel Schipper
Sound design: Daniel Wetzel 
Video design: Juan Pablo Gaviria Bedoya  
Lighting design: Robert Läßig 
Programming Deep Fake: Victor Victor
Design / Construction of robot arm: Ingo Mewes
Programming robot arm: Julian Jungel 
Marionette construction: Christian Werdin 
Rehearsing movement sequences marionette: Students of the Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts (Annika Schaper, Almut Schäfer-Kubelka, Tanja Linnekogel, Robert Richter, Sven Tillmann)
Synchronized voice marionette: Benno Lehmann
Playing the puppet - Video shooting Dresden: Caspar Bankert and Christoph Levermann
Camera: Raphael Freitas
Technical direction: Robert Läßig
Technical planning: Agentur kursiv
Production management: Juliane Männel (Vera Nau), Monica Ferrari 
Collaboration scenography: Josefine Ketelsen

In co-operation with the Hochschule für Schauspielkunst Ernst Busch (Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts), Abteilung Zeitgenössische Puppenspielkunst (Department of Contemporary Puppetry).

With many thanks to: Dr Matthew McGinity, Immersive Experience Lab, Technische Universität Dresden, Bernd Lintermann, ZKM Karlsruhe