ECHOPRAXIA and Imperfect simulations

Ignas Krunglevičius

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Ignas Krunglevičius/ INFOPSIN collective, 2024

What does it mean to mourn the future? How does it feel to be born into today? Unlike it did for the baby boomers and others born in the 20th century, today’s world does not offer promises of a bright future but rather the most certain predictions of gloom. The demographic collapse of China and large parts of Europe, the continuous live broadcasting of the atrocities of war, the rise of AI, and impending climate catastrophe all imbue the contemporary with a general vibe of doom.

I believe that our mandate as artists is not to produce a didactic analysis of the world we live in or propaganda against it but rather to try out different modes of articulating thought. This is not a simple matter of juxtaposing references and elements but of creating a primal scene by jumbling the symbolic, aesthetic, and sexual order of the decisive infrastructures of our lives.

In this text, I will describe a work in process that we, four Oslo-based artists, have taken on as a way of searching for a shared artistic stance and approach to the situation. Titled ECHOPRAXIA, the work takes the human body, in its carnal and virtual forms, as the primary focal point of the interrogation. Instead of approaching the problem through a sociopolitical analysis of Western history, we were captivated by the following question: How does the body mediate notions of past, present, and future? After a year of research (reading, writing, talking, looking, eating, feeling, listening), we decided to develop a performance that conveyed this notion of ours—bodies as resonators of the times. In its re-enactment of sorrows and joys, the ritual was designed as a means of comprehending, and coming to terms with, our present moment.

The performance, which took place in Vilnius in 2021 went as follows: A group of people met in a derelict building where they role played, sang an operatic aria, and bathed in noise music. Later, they dressed each other, with the care of soldiers preparing for deployment, in protective apparel, bright blue or yellow contact lenses, and portable high-powered speaker-backpacks that emitted a high-tempo electronic beat. Once dressed, the performers went outside into a dark parking lot, where they were illuminated only by car lights. There, they performed the ECHOPRAXIA—as a gradually intensifying choreography based on the constraint that everyone involved must copy one another’s movement at all times, creating a motion feedback loop. The performance was captured by a cinematographer, while the performers wore body cameras and a drone captured the scene from above to underline multiple perspectives.

In addition to creating this noise opera, our intention was to generate as much multimodal data as possible, i.e., video, text, and a LIDAR scan of the space. Our thesis was that by employing contemporary technologies of image manipulation and generation to assemble a virtual version of ECHOPRAXIA, we would drop ourselves into the field of a timely aesthetic, that would reflect the ambience we’ve been feeling lately. This aesthetic would tie in with the sensation of continuous digital and fleshy surfaces interacting and affecting one another, invoking a liminal area in which the conditions of visibility and thinking may become clearer.

The LIDAR-scan data and the choreography of the ECHOPRAXIA rite were digitized––movements were recorded at a motion capture studio back in Norway––and assembled in Unreal Engine. This other yet linked world, constructed in the highly commercial and user-pleasing environment of the game engine that engrossed us, needed gravity, a weather system, a landscape, water, collision simulations, and avatars—host bodies for the ECHOPRAXIA choreography.

And then the project went dormant. With the distractions of life and the demands of each of our respective personal careers, it took a year to gain control over the game engine. In the meantime, the post-pandemic vibe shift had made the initial idea of the film as the final product seem quaint. Our approach to the material had to change. In retrospect, this pause gave us an opportunity to think more slowly, and to re-conceive the ECHOPRAXIA.

The clash between the opposing cultural narratives of extinction doomerism and fully automated luxury communism generates a particularly contemporary brand of cognitive dissonance, one that has a decidedly social-psychotic tinge. What if the extinction is here, the climate is ruined, and the economic future is nil? What do we do after the world is over? There are records of mass peasant parties and ecstatic dance sessions during the Black Death that burned through Europe in the 14th century. This particular, corporeal expression of collective grief in the face of catastrophe resonated with us. Reconstructing the rite in a game engine environment, the imperfect and uncanny simulation of nature and human movement raises the question of mediation, the mutation of perception, of what happens when narratives move through language and code.


What follows is a selection of character descriptions, excerpted from our script, written by Ragnhild Aamås in response to the performers we worked with during the Vilnius iteration of ECHOPRAXIA in 2021. Each performer chose a character from an extensive list, and then, using the foundation of our research, Aamås wrote a paragraph for each performer to build and interpret their character from.

Witch of Geometry
Clever thinker supple crone. A name written in blood on the shape and relative arrangements of the parts of some other thing. The intersection of straight lines makes you puke, but that’s ok, while in the past this would mean “keep to the forest and avoid human-built environs,” with all the architectural lesions in present time city, streets are again for you. Transformations become you as the fan of your hand unfolds and refolds, the slither of your gait recalls the original crawl.

Vigilant Watch Tower
Perhaps the highest point sees the shortest. Is it a tower tunnelling into the deep? Rising into the ground? Yet, the tall metal rigs of the antenna reach past treetops, the consecrated structures of holy time, they cling to crumbling vestiges of old industry, even parasitizing the sky scrapers—signal boosters and base stations link the ever watchful aunties of the high atmos. The vigilant tower became a cave, still it can snare the foot of the jumping abode of Baba Yaga if her chickens run wild.

Shepherd (Risker, Sister, Rider)
So unlucky, the creature trapped in descriptions by relations. They became but an addendum to someone with recognised subjectivity, real juridical status. Somehow she moved from a creature of relations to male content, to become a herder of cats, as they say, a wilful, independent lot.

The Mannequin
Jester of ideals and movements, this doll suffers the most violent description of the human species proportions. What happens when the ancients’ ideals are superimposed on the ideal of the shop dummy, is the ideals of the imaginary body and this body’s capacities become obvious. To think that both the cultures they are derived from strive for the mind, in a strong body/mind dualism, resulting in such different aesthetics. Both an ideal and a broken dear.

The Dazed Saint
Touched by gods, being rippled by external forces as if they served as vocal chords for cosmic energies. Inspired one. Dazed by the information density not outfitted yet with a sufficient veil, or editor, to navigate the hybrid spaces of caverns, gardens and chambers linked by thin walkways and the short cut portals in the high information yield plane. They seek the mountain, yet find themselves in the pit. Follow the fox, would-be holy one.

The Fiddle Player
If the saint shivers from the touch of gods, the fiddle player has of their own accord, gone and sold their soul. Soldered it to the very deep heat of the darker powers to achieve the skill to movethe bodies of others.

The Welder
Our future, and our hope: to combine and form. Unite by melting or softening surfaces of contact. Water locked in crystals are needed for the slow flow of caramel stone under high pressure to break into lava. This serves to think the welder may not be a person to carry such agency of joining all things.

A familiar of Geo. Ghosting comes easy for some, hunters as much as would-seem prey. Virgin birth reimagined, the stick-bug (Pinnedyret), has chosen its partner on the planet: the naked tree. Strong, straight, ready for winter, then ready for spring. A regenerator of limbs, one imagines it either a ferocious fighter needing to rebuild, or a wimp needing to drop something to fly. Shame is a productive feeling.

The Butterfly
Kinship has been called to families of these, and human forms curious to understand their coevolution seek adaptation and give room to cocoons. Meeting across fences, interweaving themselves in the barrier. Greetings! Then an exchange between sameness and the unfamiliar until vibrancy chimes. A nectar feeding insect with two large patterned wings, covered by microscopic scales, a tiny dragon. The common belief was this insect stole butter. Oh all the hard work to produce that dairy product. Oh aching arms and shoulders, hips and calves and all, stamp stamp stamp (kinne), the weight of the pestle counterbalancing the lightness of the fluttering wings of the thief.

Hey there, you are near me everywhere. How you’ve come about your ken? Is it godly or shared? Paranoid or a technical capacity too good to let go? Shush and let us sleep. Allkunnen crawls the networks and collects it all in the delphic tripod, that original beef the strong chap had with the oracle, leading him to a year spent in servitude. Only a year? Yes. The knowall weeps as easily as it sniggers.


Infopsin is an artist formation based in Oslo. It works with art-led research, producing for platforms both virtual and fleshy and looking at how patterns of meaning in language, infrastructure, and other built environments mark the body. Infopsin’s collaboration began with the idea of the communion as the basic unit of production. Infopsin was established in 2019 and consists of Ayatgali Tuleubek, Ignas Krunglevičius, Ragnhild Aamås, and Istvan Virag.