You and A.I.

Start at Te Auaha, 65 Dixon St, Te Aro, Wellington

02/03/2024 - 03/03/2024

Start at Te Auaha, 65 Dixon St, Te Aro, Wellington

09/03/2024 - 10/03/2024

NZ Fringe Festival 2024

Production Details

by Joel Baxendale, Oliver Devlin and Ralph Upton

Binge Culture Collective

Do you need A.I? Does it need you? Who is using who?

An adventure through Te Whanganui-a-Tara and into the datascape. Let your own phone guide you on a theatrical quest through streets and found spaces, solving puzzles and mining data on your odyssey into the mind of a ravenous learning machine.

A new immersive experience from groundbreaking theatre collective Binge Culture. Press go on your journey at Te Auaha, with various sessions available to book between 1 – 4pm.

Can you beat the machine? Or are you simply a part of it?

Guided using adventure app PickPath — game-changing technology, developed by NZ artists to give the audience control of their experience. Download the PickPath app from Google Play or the Apple App Store.

Start at: Te Auaha,
2 – 3 + 9 – 10 March 2024
various start times available 1 – 4pm

Starring Hannah Kelly and Sepelini Mua'au

Director - Joel Baxendale
Dramaturg - Ralph Upton
Sound Designer - Oliver Devlin

Stage Manager - Anna Barker
Producer - Eleanor Strathern

Promenade , Theatre ,

50 minutes

Technically competent, joyful, with a good sense of humour … Fascinating

Review by Emma Maguire 03rd Mar 2024

As an avid lover of digital theatre, an avid Geocacher and an avid hater of artificial intelligence, Binge Culture’s new show, You and AI was at the top of my Fringe list this year. Binge Culture is back with another promenade experience, this one around Cuba Quarter.

It’s raining very slightly as I head into Te Auaha’s upstairs foyer, where a screen is set up and a friendly host (Eleanor Strathern) meets us. We watch an instructional video; Big Data wants us to train their new AI. Instead of doing art theft and skimming from real life creators, Big Data wants us to take their AI egg out onto the streets of Pōneke to show them what it’s like to be alive.

After connecting our egg to the PickPath app on our phones (pro tip to audiences, get the app and sign up BEFORE you get to the theatre), the rest of our band of intrepid 1pm explorers and I are ready to go. Out in the rain, I name my AI egg Alice (after the character in Resident Evil) and I take them out on a wander, following their chatter in the app. The weather is blustery, and Alice asks me to hold them up so they can feel the wind. Those walking outside Te Auaha might wonder what I’m doing, but it’s also Fringe time, so really, anything goes!

Following my little egg’s chatter as I wander the Cuba Quarter, I take in things I haven’t seen before. It’s funny, I live in the area, but I’ve never noticed the shoe shop right on Lower Cuba (I tell Alice I want a pair of boots from there), or how busy Arty Bees is on a Sunday. After falling into some strife, solving some tech problems and talking my way past a security guard (Sepelini Mua’au), I finally get to meet Alice in the flesh …

Technically. I wouldn’t necessarily say what they are is ‘flesh’, but they’re certainly talkative.

Binge Culture always brings something new to the theatrical table and this show is no exception. As audience members, we might be wandering the streets of Wellington to teach our little AI egg about the world, but I certainly take it as an opportunity to stop and smell the flowers myself.

Their shows always give me a new appreciation of the city around us – I still fondly remember running around Cuba Street a few years ago for This Text Will Self Destruct, and exploring the top floor of Te Papa in Unauthorised Audio Tour of Te Papa. Technically competent, joyful, with a good sense of humour and (for the most part) very slick, Binge Culture makes enviable performance that I always wish there was more of.

Back at Victoria Lane, I thank Alice for their time and hope that they’ll grow with help from many other users across the weekend. Do I feel sad for leaving them there? Not really. Their world needs more to it than just my ridiculous little ramblings. Has my opinion on AI changed? Potentially. Maybe, if AI was more like a whimsical creature learning to grow, rather than a way to shortchange workers the world over.

These thoughts in mind, I head home. A thoughtful conclusion to a fascinating little show.


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council