Remote Houston

Rimini Protokoll (Kaegi/Karrenbauer)



Tue, April 12– Fri, April 15, 2016 at 4pm*

*Preview performances. Additional ticketed performances of Remote Houston are available through the Alley Theatre.

Evergreen Cemetery
500 Altic Street
Houston, TX 77012
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120 minutes

“I like to put spectators and their experiences in the center. I want the audience to be exposed to the unforeseen of the city in combination with the multiple layers of our text and the soundscapes.” – Stefan Kaegi of Rimini Protokoll

Join a group of fifty people swarming out into the city on a guided audio tour that seems to follow you, as much you are following it.

Meet up, put on headphones, and your perspective changes—you are provided with a soundtrack to streets, parking garages, churches and backyards. A computer-generated voice sets you out on a trail through the city, guiding your group’s movements in real time. You move about places normally unseen, places where humans encounter their limits, places where crowds gather, Houston’s underground tunnel system, back alleyways, dark hallways, unseen areas of Houston, common areas seen through a new lens.

With recordings and soundscapes taking over your ears, the cityscape of Houston turns into your personal film. As you move along, the voice in your headphones becomes a more active participant, artificial intelligence exploring human activity, and you are the vehicle for that exploration. You are the observed as much as the observer. At times the group is given tasks—take the bus, perhaps a race—or breaks into smaller units, given separate instructions, then reform. From the outside, you are part of this strange group, appearing and disappearing within minutes. On the inside, you are fifty individuals sharing a secret view the city.

NOTE: Performance requires moving on foot about the city. Wear appropriate clothing for weather, and bring your own water bottle if desired. Arrival instructions, including a suggested public transit route to Evergreen Cemetery, will be included with your ticket confirmation.

Concept, Script and Direction Stefan Kaegi
Co-Director Jörg Karrenbauer
Sound Design: Nikolas Neecke
Director’s Assistance/Sound Editing: Ilona Marti

The artists’ collective Rimini Protokoll is based in Berlin, Germany, and headed by a team of author–directors¬—Helgard Haug, Stefan Kaegi and Daniel Wetzel—who have worked together since 2000. They work to development new theatrical tools and to expand the definitions of what a stage is, allowing for unusual perspectives on our reality. Their productions exist in the realm of theater, sound, and radio plays, film and installation.

“Remote X” is a production of Rimini Apparat. In coproduction with HAU Hebbel am Ufer Berlin, Maria Matos Teatro Municipal and Goethe-Institute Portugal, Festival Theaterformen Hannover/Braunschweig, Festival d’Avignon, Zürcher Theater Spektakel, Kaserne Basel. Supported by the Capital Cultural Fund Berlin and by Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia and Fachausschuss Tanz und Theater Kanton Basel-Stadt. A House on Fire coproduction with the support of the Cultural Program of the European Union. Voices by Acapela Group.

Remote Houston is produced by the Alley Theatre in association with the University of Houston Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts 2016 CounterCurrent festival. Remote Houston is made possible in part through the City’s Initiative Grant Program of the Houston Arts Alliance.


Interview with Stefan Kaegi of Rimini Protokoll
November 2015

Editor’s note: The X in Remote X stands for the name of the city, as the show has been tailored to the city the performance is in.

Mitchell Center: What was the initial inspiration for Remote X?

Stefan Kaegi: I love cities as stages. It’s so much more immediate to stand still and think of a public space as a theatre than to copy this place in workshops to turn them into stage-designs. And I wanted to create a project that travels with very few props and can be flexible to adapt into new places and contexts easily. And I worked with blind people for a while and was inspired by the voice-programs they use to work on computers. It seemed these were voices of familiar friends, even though they didn’t have a physical body.

Mitchell Center: How did the making of the work evolve?

Stefan Kaegi: Working on Remote X from the beginning on was mostly location scouting and then spending as much time as possible in these places to be able to predict how they would behave. GPS-programs and other apps try to constantly predict our needs, our feelings and match them with solutions. We try to do this and in the same moment question this entire mechanism of prediction.

Mitchell Center: What do you look for in a new city to help find the heart of the show?

Stefan Kaegi: The voice of Remote X simulates an artificial intelligence that tries to understand human beings from an external point of view. So I am interested in places where the humans come to their limits: cemeteries, hospitals, rooftops. But I will be also looking into places where crowds gather. I am very much looking forward to the underground tunnel system of Houston, as this seems to be a very useful architecture that enhances the sci-fi-side of the project.

Mitchell Center: How do the performance dynamics of the work interest you artistically?

Stefan Kaegi: I like to put spectators and their experiences in the center. Already Walther Gropius was dreaming in his Bauhaus sketches of a kind of theatre that could entirely surround you, physically move you around. So I didn’t want the audience to be sitting down in the dark and admire some others that are the virtuous performers. I want the audience to be exposed to the unforeseen of the city in combination with the multiple layers of our text and the soundscapes. Audiences have described the experience as very cinematographic…

Mitchell Center: What has been the most satisfying aspect about creating Remote X?

Stefan Kaegi: As much as it is made as a immersive experience, I also enjoy watching it from outside as a kind of art in public space that appears and disappears within minutes. Little gestures of 50 people sharing a secret turn the city in an exciting place where unpredictable things can happen . . .

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