It is official. I am a digital luddite, a saboteur of algorithms, an analogical dinosaur.
Technology is an extension of human ingenuity, a great creative event that simplifies our life and allows us to perform tasks that our body or mind could not achieve. I am happy with that. But when a technology stops serving us, and we start serving it, I see addiction coming. And the regression of human qualities and skills. This is what I see happening with the Internet.
In the beginning I was browsing the net, now the net is browsing me.

The Internet drives me insane, literally: it triggers my mind and soul to loose gravitas, to loose weight, taste, touch and smell, making reality inconsistent.
I prefer real reality to virtual reality.
The virtual cannot replace the authentic.

I do not like the social media field. I do not want to be there.
I want to use direct communication with real people: I don’t want to say the same thing to everybody.
My voice is not the same when I speak to my friend, my father, my love or a person who is curious about my work.
If I have lost contact with my primary school mates, there must be a reason.
The structure and timing of social media is unreal and unhealthy to me: I find the fragmentation and multiplication of information and connections unbearable.
There is too much of everything.
I can process only a limited amount of connections if I want to be truly connected.
I don’t have and can’t have 1.000 friends, not even 500 or 100.
To call them contacts would be far more honest.
If I want to say something to the world there are websites, blogs, emails and books. They make sense to me. If I don’t reply to an email it means that I don’t want to, or that I am living beyond my true capacity of staying connected. The excuse that I don’t have time for it, so Facebook is a more efficient way to stay connected, is a lie. Time is limited and priorities need to be chosen.
I want to bear the consequences of my yes and no and I want other people to do the same.

I do not want to perform a conversation in front of an invisible public ready to perform their reply, not to me but to themselves and their public. This is a degeneration of communication that I do not wish to be part of.

The world is migrating from the real space to the cyberspace. This is an unprecedented change in the collective consciousness and in the neurology of humankind. At the same time our civilization is destroying the planet ecosystems, in a collective lack of presence, attention, awareness and physical care. I find these two phenomena deeply connected. This migration online worries me: cyberspace is an illusion of space in which everybody performs the identity that they wish to show to the world. A performance of the self without the constraints and feedback that are given by the real space of the physical existence and the reciprocity, density and complexity of embodied contact.

I am a primate, I am a social animal. I don’t have a body, I am a body. I need and want an embodied social life.

I am tired of too much information.
Information is not knowledge: true knowledge needs to be felt and interacted.
We are loosing the dialogical space, and I see social media as a mutually interconnected series of monologues. An epidemic of self-publishing narcissism.
When I post something online I post myself to myself.
It is self advertising disguised as interpersonal communication.
Facebook treats its users and their data as products. Users treat themselves and their news as products, to advertise on the stock market of the ego. With the value defined by the number of likes.

I don’t want ads: I despise advertising.
I strongly disagree with the commercial use of the social instinct of people.
I do not like the idea of selling the human social instinct to advertising companies.
I do not want to have my entire life and relationships permanently kept and monitored in order to become a target for advertising. I really don’t like to be used as a specimen for a huge commercial operation. I don’t want advertising in my living room, why would I want ads in the messages to my friends?
Advertising for profit is a very poor use of art, technology, psychology, communication and creativity towards the manipulation of minds, in order to promote consumerism and the unfolding of a profit oriented civilization.
I actively wish for the historical day in which commercials and ads will be banned as a form of pollution of mental environment. I am sure that many plants and animals of Planet Earth will agree with me on that.

I despise the founder of Facebook and his radical lack of ethics. He acts as a global anti-social psychopath: manipulating consent, violating privacy, selling private information and personal profiles, promoting fake news for corporate gain, damaging democracies, upfront lying.

Look at his eyes and you will know and feel why Facebook is an anti-social network.

I am sick of the digital world: I spend already far too much time on my computer, sitting for hours in front of the fluorescence. I am hooked to emails and news. When I travel I am always looking for a WIFI network to stay connected, to be always everywhere with everybody at all times. I feel that my brain is more restless than it used to be. Internet disturbs my process of learning by reducing my capacity of deep focusing. I find reading books harder then before the internet era.

The internet connection disconnects me from the deep currents of my soul, psyche and dreams.
I am a physical living being and I want my analogical life back.
As a digital luddite, I practice digital detox, reducing my exposition to virtual digital life and maximizing my time with the real life and with the body: mine, other people’s and other living beings.
I miss the body of the planet.

At the beginning I thought the net would help. Now it has gone too far. Far too far.
I have drawn a line not to be crossed: the internet is a tool, it is not a space nor a time. If it serves to support the quality of the real life I will use it. If it demands me to leave my embodied life for a legless artificial life I’ll say no thanks.
I am happy to use a website. I do not wish to become one.

I am not upgrading anymore. And when possible, I am retrograding my systems and my processes. I miss my analogical self. I want it back.

The web is a wonderful and limitless resource and it is a voracious monster: I cannot keep a T.Rex as a pet. It will eat me alive. It is its nature.

I want hyper-connectivity with my soul, my body, my people and with nature, not with the web and not through the web.

It is never too late to turn off the machines.


These are very obscure days in Italy.

Now that the health emergency is decreasing, the cultural, political and social response to this emergency is appearing in all its madness. A mix of incompetence, arrogance, confusion, bureaucracy, and manipulation of news and data, is creating an unprecedented police state of misery. I would have never imagined my country giving up on the most basic civil, political and ethical values in the name of safety, control and fear.
The philosophical stand point of the authorities seems to be that for the fear of dying we will stop living.
I am astonished.
The good news is that nature is booming and blooming and it’s taking a well needed break from being daily devastated and polluted by our insane lifestyle.

I am amazed by this virus. It is a very powerful trickster. It is offering a radical mirror of where we are individually, in our relationships, in our collective life. It is amazing how fast the whole system has unraveled, showing the bare bones of our collective flawed design.

After surviving the quarantine, I have moved in a new phase. I am trying to get a bit of perspective.
The dimming of the collective embodiment is what is striking me. I fear this far more then the virus itself. It is a form of loss of vitality. A form of low key death. All my alert lights are blinking. Everything I know and feel is sending warning messages.

After four weeks of almost uniquely online interactions with people, I already feel the virus of an embodiment deficit disorder getting me. Screen Saturation Disorder Syndrome. SSDS.

Not to mention this low key collective paranoia of fearing each other in the most basic interactions, because of the fear of contagion. They call it social distancing but in fact it is physical distancing. Even the way we talk about it, denies the body. We deny our denial.

I start seeing the expression “the new normality” emerging. It infuriates me. I do not think that the migration of life online will satisfy our need of human connections, contact and vitality. I think it is a collective psychotic episode that was already starting with the systematic migration on line of the last decade.

Already before the virus, there was a steady migration towards virtual reality and cyberspace. This process now has accelerated to an unprecedented speed. What I hear and read in the media, about how this will affect our daily life once the lockdown is over, is freaky, and it looks like a dystopian movie, very badly written.

I have worked and played for the totality of my active life in the path towards embodiment and physical play. My strongest feeling in these days is a call to resist: I want to resist this online migration with all my capacities, creativity and madness. I will be radically and fiercely technological obsolete.

Our DNA is not designed for this. I fear that we will pay a very heavy price for this delusional movement. The virtual will never replace the authentic. The bi-dimensional screen life will never satisfy my need for an embodied multidimensional experience of each other. Artificial Intelligence will make everybody furtherly inapt, insensitive and un-intelligent. Hundreds of millions of years of evolution have not designed us for this abandonment of our two earlier brains. This is an insane idea. This digital migration is an anthropological dead end. A surrogate. Emotional, social, cultural and political junk food.

A profoundly un-intelligent choice. A tech NO logic move.



I’m 55, class 1966. I grew up with the Italian national television starting the children programs at 5pm. Until then, it was outdoor playtime, gardens’ and streets’ embodiment, dirt and runs, bicycles and scratched knees, fights, alliances and the marvelous intimacy with the city wild flora and fauna.
There were two TV channels: we would sit on the sofa and, in order to change channel, volume or brightness, you would have to stand up and touch the machine. That was our touch TV.

The word remote is Latin; it means to move away from. It is contained in the verb “to remove”. I saw the remote control arriving, it was a magical object, revered as the ultimate power. At the time, it seemed science fiction. The one who had control over it, had the choice of the channel. That was the beginning of the process towards couch potatoing.

The Greeks had two divinities in charge of Time: Chronos, the god of the flowing time and Kairos, the god of the instant, the sublime moment for an opportunity to emerge and to be caught. Carpe diem. Seize the day.

The television became something else when it became possible to record a program on a VHS tape and watch it later. Finally, we had power over Chronos. And then there were shops renting VHS tapes and, later on, DVDs. We were finally liberated from the daily programming and the fateful question: what’s on tonight at the telly?

I saw the first mobile phone, a brick-like object that in the 90’s became a status symbol.
I saw the first and the last answering machine, made obsolete by voice-boxes.
I saw the arrival of fax machines, and computers. When word processing completely transformed the writing process and freed us from the tragedy of spelling mistakes and made our handwriting a vestigial practice.

But the real game changer, the Deux ex Machina for homo sapiens was the Internet: the world wide web, finally the dream of an interconnected world at our fingertips.

I saw the invasion of emails.
Faxes? Gone. Letters? Gone. Cards, gone. Except for Christmas, for somebody, sometimes, the first years…and then…gone.

Voice messages, phone calls… endangered. Birthday cards…gone. Text messages were the new rulers.

I saw the transition from dial-up Internet to broadband to WIFI to smart phones. 2G 3G 4G.
I saw 11 generations of iPhones.

As everyone, I have upgraded myself to this new technologies, sometimes happily and willingly, sometimes with some initial resistance and perplexity. Often, I have been forced by the machines themselves to upgrade or stop using them all together. I have followed the flow, mainly to stay in touch with everyone else. But I was observing my pattern of behaviour and there were some disturbing processes. My brain was changing.

I have embraced the internet: emails, websites, smart phones. And at one point I draw a line to not cross. This line was Facebook and the social media. This made me a dinosaur. I am writing this so that the reader will understand why some of my thoughts and observations will sound obsolete. They are. I am a digital dinosaur with analogical nostalgia. And I confess that I miss my pre-internet brain.

Why I am not on facebook, nor on any other anti-social media, is a chapter that you will find later in this journal. Here I will just say that I did not want to say the same things to everyone. Books, articles, websites and blogs were already there for this. I did not want to perform my communication on a virtual stage, to write to myself in order to let people know what I do, what I feel, who I am, who I am with.

The fact is that I was already in an obsolete position, resisting a wave of technological innovations, when the pandemics hit and this whole scenario of remoteness took over.

What started with the remote control ended up with remote work. The word on-line is somehow more upbeat, it evokes the on-air of the radio waves. An on-line performance sounds like something that could be on-something. On-line theatre still holds some promises. So I prefer to call it remote theatre, to feel its impact, as well as its absurdity. Like a remote kiss. No thanks.

Now, whether it is a theatre piece or a pedagogic event, we have the option to perform it from a remote position to a remote audience. The audience which usually would gather as an assembly in the same shared physical emotional and poetic space, is now spread in multiple places, so the interaction between humans is fundamentally transformed and very seriously impacted by the nature of the technology.

What has been most stunning to me, is the speed in which a vast majority of the world population, at least in the so-called developed countries, has simply accepted this instant migration into cyberspace. Within weeks, hundreds of millions of people have abandoned the real reality and moved into cyberspace. As if the remote learning could replace efficiently the live connection. The first week was an emergency, the second week was an adjustment, the third week was an evolution, the fourth week was a progress, the fifth week was the new normal. Welcome to the future !

To embrace this remote mode as the new normal, is a political action with tremendous consequences. It means to embrace a technology that will keep us distant while claiming the opposite.

These are tricky times. Very tricky.


In my daily process of connection with reality, I try to remain fiercely anchored to phenomenological observation : a phenomenon is what is happening and can be observed. I try to pay attention, witnessing figures emerging from the background, gestalts that are searching for their manifestation. In this pandemic, as in all pandemics, the overwhelming figure emerging is the fear of contagion.

Contagion is a Latin word that has the same meaning of contact, cum-tangere: to touch together.

We are in the terrible time in which the contact with another body is potentially the contact with a disease, which is potentially the contact with the ultimate source of fear, Death. It is not surprising that the individual, collective, social and political responses have been dominated by fear. The absence both of a vaccine and an infallible therapy has brought us to an archetypal state of fragility and distress, that challenges the very essence of our social rules of engagement.

Live arts, based on the human need and desire of gathering in assembly in touch with each other, have come to a complete still point. Not even in War-time this has happened. We are in an unprecedented moment for our field of practice: powerful and highly distressing.

The last time a pandemic has been so global and has brought such a scale of disruption was the Spanish Flue of 1918-1921. It’s a century ago. There are extremely few living humans who have experienced that period first hand. None of us has any direct experience of this very peculiar and distinct set of individual and collective feelings. Which, on the other hand, have been often present in the field of existence of our ancestors. I remember vividly my grandmother telling me and my brother stories about that epic flue, while we were in bed with a banal fever.

This fear of contagion imposes a physical distancing between people. I find it very interesting, and rather disturbing, that this process has been named social distancing, which has a very different semantic content. It creates a far more dramatic atmosphere of loss of societal connections and needs. It is also politically very charged. If we cannot touch each other physically, we do not need to be socially distant. This term evokes separation, class systems, status, isolation, and fundamentally fear. Physical distance evokes the protection of each other and reminds us of the physical nature of our bonding. The fact that this social distancing is imposed by law and that, in some countries like Italy, it has been enforced by the Police and even by the Army, has massive political and emotional implications.

I am very critical to the choice of this term. In my communication I have chosen to replace it with physical distancing. The Italian philosopher Umberto Garimberti, suggests the term of viral distancing.

Theatre, as well as any forms of public performance that involves an audience gathering in shared physical proximity, are now not allowed. They are currently illegal, unlawful. The legal regulations are forbidding them and the fear of contagion has become a powerful reason to stay away from any assembly.

Already it was not easy to attract audience to our shows and workshops, but now a completely new level of problems will be looming in our post lock-down scenario. It will provide a great field of creativity for the exploration of locations and performing spaces that will allow the audience to feel safe enough to want to gather to be “entertained”. Intra-tenere: to hold the space in between.

So far, we are experiencing something that has been already experienced by our ancestors in the past, throughout epidemics and pestilences of all kinds. Unlike any of the previous pandemics of humankind, we have the completely new option of remote interaction through technology.

We are in unprecedented and uncharted territories.


pandemic (adj.) of diseases, “incident to a whole people or region,” 1660s, from Late Latin pandemus, from Greek pandemos “pertaining to all people; public, common,” from pan “all” + dēmos “people”. Distinguished from epidemic, which may connote limitation to a smaller area.

pandemonium or pandæmonium, in “Paradise Lost (1667) “the name of the palace built in the middle of Hell, “the high capital of Satan and all his peers,” and the abode of all the demons; coined by John Milton (1608-1674) from Greek pan “all”  + Late Latin daemonium “evil spirit,” from Greek daimonion “inferior divine power,” from daimōn “lesser god” as in demon.

It is still snowing. A thick blanket of snow lies on the poetic land where shows, workshops, trainings, schools, performances, festivals and all forms of gatherings used to grow, season after season, night after night. Sometimes in abundance, sometimes in scarcity, always with hard work. A labor of love, technique and dedication, often marginal and fierce, almost always financially fragile. I have loved that field so very much, and I have been blessed with many years of practice and play with so many wonderful human beings who, like me, have loved that field so very much.

We were all busy in our gardens when the snowfall started.

I did not see it coming. Nobody did, except some virologists, some top secret experts in national security and various science fiction writers. The storm came from the East, it hit Europe, Italy first, then Oceania, the Americas, Africa, until the human family found itself in the worst pandemic in living memory and the greatest “lockdown” in human history.

I was in Australia working at a Bouffon show when the storm started and the Corona tricksters sank our thespian ship. Within days, we moved from the ecstasy of daily rehearsals and devising in the wondrous intimate embodiment of a chorus of Bouffons, to saying goodbye to each other on Zoom. That was my first zoom meeting: I remember vividly the joy attack in seeing the crew, hearing their voices and their laughter irradiating from their beautiful faces. And, at the same time, the pain of not being with them. A craving distress, a skin unbalance, a hole in my guts and in my chest. The intense sensation of a lack, a longing, a loss. A state that has become very familiar over the following weeks and months of lockdown.

I started writing these notes because I do not want to turn this loss into normality, and accept an unacceptable transition into a world of disembodied social interactions. I do not want this “new normal”. It’s an exceptional time, and I want to consider it completely ab-normal. An emergency. If this becomes normal it will be a collective move into a dystopian insanity.

It is now April 2020. I have started writing these notes during my days of quarantine in my theatre studio in Padova, Italy, my hometown where I managed to return after an epic trip through continents and airports already transformed by the virus into the set of a science fiction B-movie.

These notes have emerged from an overdose of perception and reflection about this astounding scenario, as well as from multiple conversations with friends, colleagues and former students who have looked for each others in the attempt to make sense of an unprecedented collective event. I feel that this conversation is crucial not only artistically and poetically for us as theatre practitioners. It is also extremely relevant politically, for us as citizens. We are in one of those historical thresholds when an entire society, and in this case an entire civilization, is deciding to adopt a particular new technological landscape that will significantly change the collective behaviour and the very nature of the daily social and economical interactions. Ultimately, our culture will change, and our collective conscious and unconscious mind will be trans-formed.

I think this transition is comparable to the arrival of the printing process, or the Industrial Revolution or the arrival of the Internet. We are at the cusp of something crucial and, unlike the other major transitions, this one has happened extremely fast. This collective migration into a remote mode, has not happened within centuries, decades, years, or even months, but within weeks.

And it’s here to stay.


This is my first Quarantine. I am staying in the loft of Helikos theatre studio. I am legally required to not leave the building, in case I have caught the virus during my 40 hours travel from Australia to Italy. I am in a state of shock and awe witnessing something that feels like the end of the worlds that I knew.

Time is a series of days all identical to themselves.
I listen, I watch, I read. I listen again. News, websites, text messages, video calls. I listen to words, their context, their meaning, their etymology. I listen to the tone of those who are speaking, the emphasis and the motions that appear in their timing, the mood emerging from the silence in between the words.

A new vocabulary is emerging: the words for this crisis have been very carefully chosen and they are defining our experience and designing a new world.
Social distancing, remote work, smart work, remote learning, webinar
Now in Italy working from home is called Smart work. As opposed to what? Is this an implicit confession that the live work that we had before, with its locations and schedules and real interactions with other human beings was stupid work? Dumb work? Un-smart work?

Actually, that is true: the contact with another person is always stupefying, because it’s unpredictable. Stupid is Latin, stupidus, to be stupefied. An actual real direct contact with another human being will make us more stupid because there will be surprises, there will be conflicts, we may have to change our mind, or even our identity. Emotions might happen, and feelings, and liking and disliking and attraction or affection. It is risky, it is exciting, it contains the potential for mutual transformation: it has always been like this, it is embedded in the social nature of the human species. To enter in a relationship is to become stupid together.

Now that that we’re all hopping to work from remote, the narrative is that we will become smarter. We will eliminate all the stupid aspects of a day at work. The wandering, the travel, the breaks, the errors.
Errare is the Latin for wandering, to follow the randomness of the path.

The illusion of control will grow further. And the design of the software will edit the shapes of our interactions. The same has happened with the smart phones: before, we head just phones, dumb phones that were only good for talking. Now my phone is so smart that it does all sorts of work for me. Memory, orientation, contacts, advises… It can talk back to me, will it soon be my counselor?

We are outsourcing our smartness to the phones and our intelligence to the machines.
Are we going to become dumb or numb? Or both?