ELEVATOR explores a deconstructive critique of the elevator pitch, a capitalist ritual where a concise business proposal is delivered within a 2-minute elevator ride to a captive listener.
ELEVATOR explores tech start-up culture for its underlying inequities and embodiment of capitalist extremes, revealing how “the pitch” promotes the morphing of personhood and product, pushing the viewer to question the ethics of creation.
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Conceptual Artist: Tahir Carl Karmali
Playwright/Director: Mia Rovegno
Pitchwriting Dramaturg: Elizabeth Thys
Editor: Tyler Jensen
Sound Designer: Roman Chimienti
Cast, in order of appearance:
Daniel K. Isaac
Tonight, a tech start-up company is pitching a product proposal for a “human upgrade” to a panel of venture capitalists. As the pitch unfolds, a surreal hall of mirrors emerges, escalating into a visual and sonic choral cacophony unveiling the gendered, racialized lens of the white cismale dominating the tech world, whose performative optics claim “client-facing” diversity and inclusion.
ELEVATOR draws from our experiences as artists and entrepreneurs who are continually asked to engage with the ritual of pitching. This work examines the start of the entrepreneurial journey as an entry to our capitalist system, which not only influences how we run businesses, but also how we live our lives and structure our communities. The performance explores tech start-up culture for its underlying inequities and embodiment of capitalist extremes – idealism, competition, and ego. In our COVID reality, our dependence upon technology has accelerated exponentially, elevating the privilege and inequity of the tech industry, leaving us unaware of how deeply this culture influences and surveils our lives without our knowledge or permission.
Tahir Carl Karmali, Mia Rovegno, and Elizabeth Thys collaborate as ThoughtThought, a collective merging our contemporary art and social practices in performance, visual art and creative entrepreneurship. We ask questions that critically consider the crumbling paradigm. We are curious and serious about creative disruptions. ELEVATOR is our first collaboration.