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De Toneelmakerij Wins Prestigious Ars Electronica Award for Digital Humanity 2024

De Toneelmakerij

June 2024

The performance Patchwork Girl has won the Ars Electronica Award for Digital Humanity 2024: the grand prize of the prestigious Ars Electronica Festival, one of the world's biggest art and media events. The international expert jury was full of praise for ETC Member Theatre De Toneelmakerij's performance. Patchwork Girl was chosen from 3,000 international entries from over 80 countries and, in addition to the Golden Nica, wins 10,000 euros.

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© Sanne Peper

Ars Electronica Award for Digital Humanity  

Ars Electronica is a unique international institute for digital art in Linz, Austria. With their annual Ars Electronica Festival, held since 1979, they create a hotspot for innovative art. The Ars Electronica Award for Digital Humanity, initiated by the Austrian Foreign Ministry, is being presented for the fourth time. This prize is awarded to an artwork that questions contemporary approaches to technology. The 'Golden Nica' will be presented in September during the Ars Electronica Festival 2024.   

Activist art  

"First of all, it is a huge honour and recognition to receive such an important award from such an awesome festival. With Patchwork Girl, we have pushed the boundaries of what theatre is and created activist art, in which the research itself is the artistic outcome. This research is not yet complete. In fact, the big launch of our avatar 'Patchwork Girl' in expose groups and on porn sites has yet to begin. The prize makes it possible to realise this next phase," said creators Paulien Geerlings and Eva Knibbe.  

About the performance   

Patchworkgirl is a poignant lecture-performance about sexting, exposing, slutshaming and owning your sexuality. When journalist Jantine Jongebloed was 16, the trashy Dutch website GeenStijl published her nudes.  When Cyrina was 13, a sexy video of her was distributed at secondary schools in her village. In this performance, Jantine reconstructs the events from her past. For this, she uses the internet she was once a victim of. Five teenage girls from the MBO Theatre School re-enact the Jantine of 16 and portray the perpetrators. Through a voice-over, Cyrina also shares her story. With A.I. artist Noelía, they create an avatar, based on Jantine's nudes. This virtual girl first embodies the 'male fantasy' to attract attention. Then she is ‘dressed’ with photos of skin from the audience. Protected by this, the avatar enters expose groups and porn sites. There, through performance and poetry, she engages in dialogue with visitors on behalf of victims, giving women back control over their own stories.    

During the making process of Patchwork Girl, all kinds of obstacles made the (absent) ethics of the internet crystal clear. On the one hand, it turned out to be illegal to create a naked avatar, while on the other, countless men post private images of real women online.  

The creators decided to make these obstacles the core of the show.  

 

Long credits 

Patchworkgirl is produced by theatre company de Toneelmakerij 

Concept: Paulien Geerlings, Eva Knibbe 

Idea & Direction: Eva Knibbe 

Story: Jantine Jongebloed 

Creation and Text: Paulien Geerlings, Jantine Jongebloed, Eva Knibbe, Nina van Tongeren 
AI artist: Noelía Martin-Montalvo, 
Performers: Anna Antonoglou, Silke Ensel, Chiara Fleischmann, Jantine Jongebloed, Noelía Martin-Montalvo, Amber Schouten, Nora Smidt 
With special thanks to: Cyrina, Waag Future Lab and Iris Keuven 

Theatre Company de Toneelmakerij is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Culture and by the City of Amsterdam. 

 

Short credits: 

Patchworkgirl is produced by Theatre Company de Toneelmakerij 
Concept: Paulien Geerlings, Eva Knibbe 

Idea and Direction: Eva Knibbe  
Creators: Paulien Geerlings, Jantine Jongebloed, Eva Knibbe, Noelía Martin-Montalvo, Nina van Tongeren 
 

Bios: 

De Toneelmakerij makes cutting-edge shows for young audiences. Based in Amsterdam and with (inter)national reach, we tell polyphonic stories to the heartbeat of the city. We were part of European projects such as the awarded Young Europe 4 and ACuTe. For this, our Rabbit Hole got an award for best concept and use of new tech. 

Paulien Geerlings is head dramaturg at de Toneelmakerij and boardmember of ETC. She publishes essays and is currently writing a play for the main stage.  

Jantine Jongebloed is a writer and journalist. Her literary debut 'Sometimes I want a child' was published last year. Patchwork Girl was partly based on her prize-winning essay.  

Eva Knibbe is an allround artist. Her video installation Untitled, created with Paulien Geerlings, showcases the history and future of people with Down syndrome. 

Noelía Martin-Montalvo graduated in Interdisciplinary Arts at the Maastricht Institute of Arts. She employs diverse mediums including film, photography, performance and AI art. 

Nina van Tongeren is a playwright and a dramaturg at de Toneelmakerij. She writes activist plays for all ages and publishes essays.

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