anna fries

digital and performing artist


Anna Fries is a performing artist based in Berlin, Basel and Amsterdam. They are co-founder and former artistic director of pioneering game-theatre collective machina eX, which is specialized in creating interactive, gamified experiences for small audiences. 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 2020 Henrike Iglesias produced their interactive and Covid-save piece UNDER PRESSURE, a show about performance pressure and capitalist values, which was invited to the showcase Stages Unboxed at Theatertreffen 2021. Anna Fries also directed shows in German state theaters, the latest work 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.
Since a few years Anna Fries has 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. Currently Anna Fries is researching virtual funeral rituals.

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. Anna 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 Anna 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, Anna 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: Anna Fries
Concept, Sound Installation, Composition: Malu Peeters
Technical Artist, Dramaturgy: Ambrus Ivanyos
Performance: Asaf Aharonson
Digital Performance: Asaf Aharonson, Brandy Butler, Anna 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: Lisa Kaschubat, Manuel Tozzi
3D-Design Ectobag: Danielle Williams
Assistant: Oriana Fasciati
Artistic Advice: Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese
Production Manager Germany: Sina Kießling
Production Manager Switzerland: produktionsDOCK

[POSTHUMAN WOMBS] (2021) is a 28-minute VR-trip inside a Spatial Sound Installation. 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.

Creator, Art Direction, Script: Anna Fries
Creator, Composition, Sound Installation: Malu Peeters
Key Collaborator, Technical Artist, Developer: Ambrus Ivanyos
Digital Performers: Brandy Butler, Anna Fries, Olivia Hyunsin Kim, Ncube as Bibi, Fercha Pombo, Kübra Uzun, Wheelymum
Narrators: Anna 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: Anna 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