anan fries

digital and performing artist


Anan Fries is an artist based in Berlin, Basel and Amsterdam. Since a few years they have been researching hybrid aesthetics of fusing digital arts and performing arts. 2021 they premiered their work VIRTUAL WOMBS, which combines VR and live performance, and [POSTHUMAN WOMBS], a VR-experience inside a spatial sound installation. [POSTHUMAN WOMBS] was part of the idfa DocLab Official Selection and nominated for best Immersive Non-Fiction. A standalone version of [POSTHUMAN WOMBS] has been shown in various contexts, DOK Leipzig and GIFF Geneva among them. Currently Anan Fries is researching phygital funeral rituals and interspecies grief. Their new hybrid work RESURRECT IN PEACE will premiere at HAU Berlin.
Anan Fries is also co-founder and former artistic director of pioneering game-theatre collective machina eX, which is specialised in creating interactive, gamified experiences. machina eX games have toured extensively in Europe and the US. In 2012 Anna Fries co-founded Henrike Iglesias, a feminist performance collective with a strong love for pop and politics. Their live-porn-show OH MY was touring internationally and was last shown at FIBA 2020 in Buenos Aires. In a former life Anan Fries also directed shows in German state theaters, the last one being the world premiere of I LOVE DICK by Chris Kraus at Staatsschauspiel Dresden. In 2019/20 they were a participant at DAS Theatre at AHK Amsterdam.

THE HOST (2020) is a performative video installation, a digital body essay, a trip into the belly of the pregnant monster. Based on a docufictional journal this work bears witness to a process of mutation and transformation of body and identity. Anan Fries mutates and transforms, posing questions of becoming and of difference. Exploring practices of vlogging and camming they aim to create a non-normative digital space for a community in which the pregnant body is deromanticised and defeminized. For THE HOST Anan Fries collaborated with sound artist Malu Peeters, who researched and composed monstrous sounds and media artist Ambrus Ivanyos, who built the environment using the game engine Unity.

Concept, videos, performance: Anna Fries
Co-concept, sounddesign, music: Malu Peeters
3d modeling, programming: Ambrus Ivanyos
Dramaturgical support: Miguel Angel Melgarez
Supported by DAS THEATRE - Academy of Theatre and Dance and DGTL FMNSM online residency 2020

VIRTUAL WOMBS (2021) brings Virtual Reality into the theatre space and plays with speculative conditions. The work deals with mutation and transformation and with the potentials of worldbuilding, the creation of digital, reality-expanding worlds. The performers, both physical and virtual, take the audience on a tender journey into the womb of the pregnant post-human. Visitors enter the show as groups of up to 20 people.Inspired by philosopher Rosi Braidotti and drawing on personal experiences of pregnancy, Anan Fries and Malu Peeters explore the construct of the pregnant post-human, where gender is not understood as a binary and where nature and technology are not in opposition to one another. Its pregnancy, rather, is technology. Its body is fiction and reality, animation and image. It is an ultimate, intimate experience of plurality, of possibility and of change – an attempt to rethink what it means to exist and to become. And an attempt to speculate how power relations could change if all bodies could reproduce.

Concept, Content, Artistic Direction: Anan Fries
Co-Concept, Sound Installation, Composition: Malu Peeters
Technical Artist, Dramaturgy: Ambrus Ivanyos
Performance: Asaf Aharonson
Digital Performance: Asaf Aharonson, Brandy Butler, Anan Fries, Olivia Hyunsin Kim, Ncube as Bibi, Fercha Pombo, Kübra Uzun, Wheelymum
Light Installation, Light Design: Eva G. Alonso
Costume Design: Tra My Nguyen
Costume Assistant: Anne-Kristin Winzer
Costume Kübra: Kemal Yjlmaz
3D-Animation, Object Design: Lisa Kaschubat, Manuel Tozzi
3D-Design Ectobag: Danielle Williams
Assistant: Oriana Fasciati
Artistic Advice: Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese
Production: Hairygaze
Production Manager Germany: Sina Kießling
Production Manager Switzerland: produktionsDOCK

RESURRECT IN PEACE - RIP (2023) is a phygital funeral for a bird. More than one hundred years ago the passenger pigeon was driven to extinction. Now it is given a farewell. In the midst of the sixth mass extinction “R.I.P.” celebrates the mortality of all existence and questions the political potential of a possible resurrection. The work is inspired by a group of scientists who are currently trying to de-extinct the passenger pigeon by means of genetic engineering. Three performers become the masters of ceremony for this tech intensive burial. Vive trackers register their movements and become ceremonial objects which communicate with a digital ecosystem. The bodies of the performers connect the physical and the virtual, the absent and the present. “R.I.P.” is a space for interspecies grief, a ceremonial admission of guilt, a lament in computer graphics.

Concept, artistic direction: Anan Fries
Composition, sound design: Malu Peeters
Technical artist, 3D Design: Ambrus Ivanyos
Performance: Brigitte Huezo, Kieron Jina, Karol Tyminski
Choreography: Anan Fries, Brigitte Huezo, Kieron Jina, Karol Tyminski Lighting design, stage: Theresa Baumgartner
Costume: Tra My Nguyen
Pigeon animation: Mohsen Hazrati Production assistance: Max*ine Vajt Production management D: Sina Kießling
Production management CH: produktionsDOCK
Thank you: Maque Pereyra, Iftah Gabbai
Special thanks to the Museum and the 3D Laboratory at the Department of Biology, Lund University for the 3D scan of the passenger pigeon.

[POSTHUMAN WOMBS] (2021) is a 28-minute VR-trip inside a Spatial Sound Installation by Anan Fries and Malu Peeters. It is an exploration of non-normative pregnant bodies and the values of posthuman perception.
It was part of the 2021 idfa DocLab Official Selection and nominated for best Immersive Non-Fiction. It was also on the shortlist Digital Storytelling by the Dutch Directors Guild.
[POSTHUMAN WOMBS standalone version] (2022) is a 20-minute VR essay and was shown among other contexts at DOK Leipzig, DA Z Zürich and GIFF Geneva. It is nominated for the VR ART PRIZE.

Creator, Director, Script: Anan Fries
Creator, Composition, Sound Installation: Malu Peeters
Key Collaborator, Technical Artist, Developer: Ambrus Ivanyos
Digital Performers: Brandy Butler, Anan Fries, Olivia Hyunsin Kim, Ncube as Bibi, Fercha Pombo, Kübra Uzun, Wheelymum
Narrators: Anan Fries, Malu Peeters
Costume Design: Tra My Nguyen
Costume Design Kübra: Kemal Yjlmaz
Character Animation: Lisa Kaschubat, Manuel Tozzi
3D-Design Ectobag: Danielle Williams
Room Installation: Tra My Nguyen, Ozan Sanal
Executive Producers: Anan Fries, Malu Peeters
Co-produced by Hairygaze, HAU Hebbel am Ufer, Kaserne Basel
Co-funded by Netherlands Film Fund, Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie, Hauptstadtkulturfonds, Fachausschuss Tanz Theater Basel-Stadt & Basel-Landschaft