“Modern science says: The sun is the past, the earth is the present, the moon is the future. From an incandescent mass we have originated, and into a frozen mass we shall turn. Merciless is the law of nature, and rapidly and irresistibly we are drawn to our doom. (…) Meanwhile the cheering lights of science and art, ever increasing in intensity, illuminate our path, and the marvels they disclose, and the enjoyments they offer, make us measurably forgetful of the gloomy future.” (Nikola Tesla “The problem of increasing human energy” 1900)
Thunderstruck walks in the footsteps of the genius and madman Nikola Tesla. In the end of the 19th century, the Serbian-American inventor brought us several of our century’s most important innovations in electricity and communication. He also invented the Tesla coil, an electrical resonant transformer circuit used to produce high-voltage, low-current, high frequency alternating-current electricity. Basically, a device that produces lightning bolts and now can be used for entertainment in live electricity shows.
Thunderstruck departs from the 19th century phenomena of touring electricity shows. At a time when electricity was still a scientific novelty it was displayed in public performances as acts of magic. Today, a contemporary heir to the electricity magic show is the Tesla coil performance, making use of the spectacular sound and light effects the coil produces, but often performed in hyper-masculinized, technique-masturbatory and rock’n’roll-fetishistic shows.
In Thunderstruck, Stina Nyberg returns to a time when the artist and scientist believed in transforming the forces of nature into the forces that propel society, harnessing natural energy for crafting nearly magical devices.
Creating an alternative to the existing macho-spectacular Tesla coil shows, Thunderstruck pairs effective technical innovations with a long-term research on science and magic.
Choreography and performance: Stina Nyberg. Assistant on stage: Niklas Ren. Choreographic assistance: Andros Zins-Browne. Research: Sandra Linnell, Stina Nyberg, Zoë Poluch. Composition and sound design: Maria W Horn. Light design: Josefin Hinders. MDT technical supervisor and security: Katti Alm. MDT producer: Frida Tiger. Technical assistance: Axel Norén. Coiler: Finn Hammer / Hammertone. High voltage consultant: Roya Nikjoo. Administration: Interim kultur. Residency, co-production and performances: MDT in Stockholm, Station in Belgrade, The National Touring Theatre of Sweden and residency support by C.off. Supported by: The Swedish Arts Council, The Swedish Arts Grants Committee, Kulturbryggan, City of Stockholm, Stockholm County Council and [DNA] Departures and Arrivals network which is co-financed by the Creative Europe program of the European Commission. Thanks to: David Choi at makerspace Fat Cat Fat Lab NYC, Miroslav Kosanic and Nikola Milenic at makerspace PRAKSA Belgrade, Erik Gabrielsson at KTH.