On January 12, 2003, a 21-year-old male in Phoenix, Arizona (known online as "ripper") died of an overdose of prescription drugs while in an online chatroom. Over the course of more than an hour, numerous chatroom participants watched ripper's actions via webcam and chat - and did nothing to intervene.
[the art of deleting] is a theatrical adaptation of this young man's final hours. Scored for three singers and electronics by Dennis DeSantis, with a text adapted by Lydia Steier from the original chatlogs, the work explores how notions of social responsibility become distorted by the anonymity of the web.
[the art of deleting] will premiere at Stuttgart's AER Club, using the potentials of artificiality and obfuscation in a nightclub to parallel that of the internet. Far from being a dry cautionary tale, the performance, directed by Steier, features opulent costumes, go-go girls, video effects, bizarre figures and surreal scenic situations.
[the art of deleting] was commissioned in 2010 by the Staatsoper Stuttgart.