machina eX is a group of young media and theatre artists designing computer games in real life environments, Point ‘n’ Click Adventures within the graphics of reality. Blending scenic dramaturgy with the power of digital gaming principles, machina ex enchants performers and players alike and turns theatrical stages into fantastical worlds, in which rooms, objects and people interact are able to interact with each other.
We design an immersive experience somewhere between computer game, theater and interactive installation. Within a room equipped with electronic sensors, human actors and analog items the player gets thrown directly into the game universe. Doors can be opened for real. Lights can be switched on and off. Anything can be touched, tested, used, collected and combined in order to test the reaction of the room and the characters in it. In these complex paradox metaworlds illusion is unbroken for the moment.
Our players grow together as a group and experience the story by solving the puzzles they are prompted with along the way. Collectively they plunge into the world of the game and find themselves amidst the story that does not develop without their own initiative: They follow the performers – the “avatars” – through true to life designed rooms, explore drawers and cabinets, solve the puzzles and make decisions that trigger events and have major consequences for the developing story.
Since our founding in 2010 we realized 10 original adventures – as theater shows, but also in the context of gaming festivals or visual arts exhibitions. We think of ourselves as a gaming laboratory and are constantly working on the development of new formats, game systems and interactive stories.
Our game formats are built for small audiences, that allow for an intensive experience and active exchange between the players. Through a heightened performance rate our productions can still be opened to a broader public.
Besides guest performances and new productions we also offer a diverse range of workshops for children and adults revolving around the subject or gaming and theater or the technical implementation (Arduino, Max/MSP, Processing…).
Our second adventure, 15’000 GRAY has been awarded with the jury prize of the 100° festival Berlin 2011, nominated for the Best OFF festival in Hannover 2011 and amongst other festivals was invited to the Impulse festival in Düsseldorf 2011, the Körber Studio in Hamburg 2012 and the Donau festival in Krems, Austria 2012.
In 2012 machina eX was chosen for a two year residency by the Doppelpass Fonds of the Kulturstiftung des Bundes in cooperation with the FFT Düsseldorf.
“(…) The perfection of these situations that machina eX offers their audiences is – next to the enormous fun factor – the big quality of this young performance collective. For they succeed in passing that the audience feels neither exposed nor forced to participate, but admits himself into the situation without further doubts. Maybe it is the result of the intimate setting (…) – or simply grand illusionistic theater…”
(taken from the Impulse-Festival program text from curator Tamina Theiß)
“machina eX manages to enchant the audience into a weightless status of distancelessness. Illusion and reality are likewise seducing. In wonder a (…) parallel world opens, that needs to be traveled through as companions in fate. It is as if we were placed into a David Lynch movie or a computer game, that we can only escape by answering shrewdly phrased questions with a lasting grin on our faces. (…) The next level becomes a blankspace for our own phantasy within a story that began before me, escalated with me and lives on far after and in me. (…) machina eX succeeds (…) in building something very special: They tell a story and in the manner they do it they create something “new” in the theater.”
Marc Prätsch, Jury des Best OFF Freier Theater Niedersachsen
“machina eX grooms whole building sections elaborately with props, loudspeakers, sensors and computer technology to create a real walkthrough adventure game. (…) Flexibility and the openness makes machina eX performances so charming. Undoubtedly they are amongst the most thoroughly concepted fusions between game and theater.”
GEE und Spiegel Online über Gaming und Theater und machina eX: Daniel Kringiel
” If the bourgeois theater since Lessing can be viewed as a tool for self-reassurance and self-activation of a class of society, then the gaming format of machina eX is an absolutely meaningful adaptation of this instrument to the current conditions.”
Tom Mustroph, Neues Deutschland, 02.03.2011
“machina eX (…) is a real highlight: gamers will rejoice at the many small allusions and this who have never played a point and click adventure before, will be pleased with the love of detail in the set design and with finally being able to do things themselves.”
Zündfunk, Bayrischer Rundfunk, Christian Schiffer
“This is the future of theater! Gameplay and theater: The best of both worlds joined.”
on3, Spielwiese, Bayrischer Rundfunk