The Performance Arcade brings together visual arts and performance in a specially curated ‘exhibition-event’ of live art practices on Wellington Waterfront. An arrangement of shipping containers and scaffold structures provides a temporary architecture for this unique project, housing a bar space, a programme of live music and events, and new performance installations by NZ and International artists. Open 13 hours a day, this event is free to the Wellington public.

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Kjell Theøry (A Prologue in 4 Turns) explores Alan Turing’s mathematical descriptions of nature in conjunction with the prologue from the first surrealist play, The Breasts of Tiresias (1917), a gender-bending spectacle of male reproduction. In response to these sources, ATOM-r uses technologies of mixed and augmented reality to create a queer neopagan fertility ritual staged between physical and virtual worlds.

The work takes place in a 4-part cycle throughout The Performance Arcade, from 10-12 March only.


Morning Song: a daily outdoor performance that departs The Performance Arcade at 10am each day travelling to the Amphitheatre at Te Papa Red Gates. 

Day Song: the shipping container installation where costumes, object, and the surrounding sky can be explored with augmented reality viewers

Night Song: a daily outdoor performance at 9pm departing the Amphitheatre at Te Papa Red Gates, travelling back to The Performance Arcade.
Kjell’s Song: A one-off full performance of ATOM-r’s Kjell Theøry at 8.30pm on Sunday 12 March in the Stage Space.




Anatomical Theatres of Mixed Reality (ATOM-­r) is a provisional collective exploring forensics, anatomy, and 21st century embodiment through performance, language and emerging technologies. The work is collaboratively generated by core members Mark Jeffery (choreography), Judd Morrissey (writing & technology), Justin Deschamps and Christopher Knowlton (performers).


ATOM-­r was conceived in response to the historical architecture of anatomical theatres, spaces designed for viewing of human dissections and early surgical procedures. This is used as a symbol to explore histories and experiences of the body, sexuality, and prosthesis. The Operature (2014) engaged the anatomical narrative of Samuel Steward, a 20th century writer and tattoo artist whose Stud File tracked and cross-referenced thousands of homosexual encounters which were at the time punishable under the law. ATOM-r’s second work, Kjell Theøry, premiers in 2017.


ATOM-r uses coded systems and augmented reality to create a liminal theatre with responsive costumes, scannable tattoos, and virtual poetic texts.

Presented by International Programme Partners Bolton Hotel
and Te Papa Tongarewa, Museum of New Zealand

ATOM-r is supported through a joint residency at the International Museum of Surgical Science and the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts (Chicago). With additional support from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Credit to the work:

Augmented Reality Viewer: Elena Ailes 

Film: ATOM-r and Julia Pello

Sound: Joshua Patterson

Photos: Grace Duvall

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