‘discrete figures 2019’ by Rhizomatiks Research x ELEVENPLAY x Kyle McDonald

'discrete figures 2019' Event Series

In addition to the performances, please join us for a Workshop and an Artist Talk by select members of the creative team in the week leading up to the shows.

May 13-15: Machine Learning & Computer Vision Workshop
May 16: discrete figures Artist Talk: Daito Manabe, Mikiko & Kyle McDonald
May 17-18: 'discrete figures 2019' Performances

Gray Area is proud to present the return of discrete figures by Rhizomatiks Research x ELEVENPLAY x Kyle McDonald in collaboration with Heron Arts.

Four shows over two nights
May 17 and May 18

5pm doors / 6pm show
8pm doors / 9pm show

Following last year's sold out performances at Gray Area, discrete figures returns to San Francisco to present this expansive, dance technology performance by artist Daito Manabe’s Rhizomatiks Research and choreographer MIKIKO's ELEVENPLAY, in collaboration with artist Kyle McDonald.

Rhizomatiks Research and ELEVENPLAY have garnered an international following for their many groundbreaking collaborations to date. Melding a commitment to conceptual innovation with a high level of technical refinement, they have unlocked unexplored possibilities in dance as a performing art, approached from the tandem perspective of installation and media art. ‘discrete figures’ represents the fruits of their latest collaboration in the form of a dance performance conceived jointly with U.S.-based media artist and researcher Kyle McDonald.

‘discrete figures’ unites the performing arts and mathematics in a dramatic exploration of the relationship between the human body and computer generated movement (simulated bodies) born from mathematical analysis. As an additional layer of complexity, the performance piece utilizes drones, A.I., and machine learning in the quest for a new palette of movement to foster undiscovered modes of expressive dance that transcend the limits of conventional human subjectivity and emotional expression.

An expansive multidisciplinary collaboration between mathematicians, dancers, media artists, composers, and engineers, this complex experimental performance is truly the first of its kind. Come reimagine the boundary between real and imaginary, between object and movement.

‘discrete figures’ explores the interrelationships between the performing arts and mathematics, giving rise to mathematical entities that engage with the bodies of human dancers onstage.

"Alan Turing applied mathematics to disembody the brain from its corporeal host. He sought to expand his body, transplanting his being into an external vessel. In a sense, he sought to replicate himself in mechanical form. Turing saw his computers as none other than bodies (albeit mechanical), irrevocably connected to his own flesh and blood. Although onlookers would see a sharp delineation between man and machine, in his eyes, this progeny did not constitute a distant Other. Rather, he was the father of a “living machine,” a veritable extension of his own body, and a mirror onto the act of performing living, breathing mathematics."

— Daito Manabe



Dance company directed by choreographer & art director, MIKIKO. ELEVENPLAY was founded by MIKIKO in 2009, in the hopes of creating dancers who possess highly artistic sense and creativity on top of exquisite techniques, body and spirit. Composed of female dancers from a variety of genre, ELEVENPLAY's methods of expression are diverse, including stages, video works, and still photos.


MIKIKO, a stage designer/choreographer, has taken an artistic direction and choreographed for almost fifty world-famous Japanese artists like Perfume, BABYMETAL, Ringo Shiina and more. She has won many awards in the field of performing arts, and her choreography has been widely appreciated in the Japanese Pop scene. It is safe to say that MIKIKO is one of the greatest choreographers in Japan.

Rhizomatiks Research

Rhizomatiks Research mainly takes up projects focusing on the field of research and development, and sets priority in opening a new expression for the future. The team which is leading Rhizomatiks Research, has produced projects with artists such as Perfume and ELEVENPLAY in addition to media-art and data-art projects, and is also in charge of all processes through the projects―planning, implementation and operation.

Daito Manabe

Tokyo-based artist, interaction designer, programmer, and DJ. Launched Rhizomatiks in 2006. Since 2015, has served alongside Motoi Ishibashi as co-director of Rhizomatiks Research, the firm’s division dedicated to exploring new possibilities in the realms of technical and artistic expression with a focus on R&D-intensive projects. Specially-appointed professor at Keio University SFC. Manabe’s work in design, art, and entertainment takes a new approach to everyday materials and phenomenon. However, his end goal is not simply rich, high-definition realism by recognizing and recombining these familiar elemental building blocks. Rather, his practice is informed by careful observation to discover and elucidate the essential potentialities inherent to the human body, data, programming, computers, and other phenomena, thus probing the interrelationships and boundaries delineating the analog and digital, real and virtual. Photo by Akinori Ito.

Motoi Ishibashi

Engineer / Artist. Director of Rhizomatiks Research. Born in 1975. Graduated from the Department of Systems and Control Engineering at the Tokyo Institute of Technology and the International Academy of Media Arts and Sciences (IAMAS). After graduation, Ishibashi produced show windows and advertisements using an interactive video system, which at the time was still largely unknown. In 2006, he began making full-fledged media art works. His works include “Pa++ern”, “fadeout” and “particles”, and he has shown them at countless museums and events, such as Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media[YCAM], NTT InterCommunication Center[ICC], Ars Electronica and Sonar. In 2010, he expanded his field of activities to include entertainment, and began overseeing the technical aspects of music videos, concerts, and large-scale shows, creating new expressions using advanced systems in live performances. He continues to produce spaces and experiences that would not be possible with video alone through the use of devices and hardware. In 2011, he was awarded the Excellence Prize in the art division of the 15th Japan Media Arts Festival, and the Award of Distinction in the interactive division of Prix Ars Electronica. Photo by Shizuo Takahashi.

Kyle McDonald

Kyle McDonald is an artist working with code. He is a contributor to open source arts-engineering toolkits like openFrameworks, and builds tools that allow artists to use new algorithms in creative ways. He has a habit of sharing ideas and projects in public before they're completed. He creatively subverts networked communication and computation, explores glitch and systemic bias, and extends these concepts to reversal of everything from identity to relationships. Kyle has been an adjunct professor at NYU's ITP, and a member of F.A.T. Lab, community manager for openFrameworks, and artist in residence at STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon, as well as YCAM in Japan. His work is commissioned by and shown at exhibitions and festivals around the world, including: NTT ICC, Ars Electronica, Sonar/OFFF, Eyebeam, Anyang Public Art Project, Cinekid, CLICK Festival, NODE Festival, and many others. He frequently leads workshops exploring computer vision and interaction.

Production Credits


Stage Direction | Choreography

Artistic Direction | Music
Daito Manabe (Rhizomatiks Research)

Technical Direction | Hardware Engineering
Motoi Ishibashi (Rhizomatiks Research)

Machine Learning Direction
Kyle McDonald

Machine Learning
Yuta Asai (Rhizomatiks Research)

Projection System | Software Engineering
Yuya Hanai (Rhizomatiks Research)

Satoshi Horii (Rhizomatiks Research)
You Tanaka (Rhizomatiks Research)

CG Direction
Tetsuka Niiyama (+Ring / TaiyoKikaku Co.,Ltd.)

CG Produce
Toshihiko Sakata (+Ring / TaiyoKikaku Co.,Ltd.)

Daito Manabe / Hopebox / Kotringo / Krakaur / Setsuya Kurotaki / Seiho

Muryo Homma (Rhizomatiks Research)

Stage Engineering
Momoko Nishimoto (Rhizomatiks Research)

Motion Capture
Tatsuya Ishii (Rhizomatiks Research)
Saki Ishikawa (Rhizomatiks Research)


Promotional Designer
Hiroyasu Kimura (Rhizomatiks Design)
Hirofumi Tsukamoto (Rhizomatiks Design)
Kaori Fujii (Rhizomatiks Design)

Technical Support
Shintaro Kamijo (Rhizomatiks Research)

Tomoaki Yanagisawa(Rhizomatiks Research)
Toshitaka Mochizuki (Rhizomatiks Research)
Kyohei Mouri (Rhizomatiks Research)

Production management
Yoko Shiraiwa (ELEVENPLAY) Nozomi Yamaguchi (Rhizomatiks Research)
Ayumi Ota (Rhizomatiks Research) Rina Watanabe (Rhizomatiks Research)

Takao Inoue (Rhizomatiks Research)


Rhizomatiks co., ltd.


Heron Arts

Heron Arts was founded in 2013 by Mark Slee, an active member of San Francisco's creative community, organizing events since the mid-2000s. Prior to Heron Arts, Slee was a member of Facebook's product design and development team. He is joined in 2015 by directors Noah Antieau and Tova Lobatz, who are pursuing ambitious programming that will encompass installations and experiential interactive environments, alongside traditional gallery exhibitions. Antieau has been involved in the arts for two decades. He founded Red Truck Gallery in New Orleans and annually curates a section of the LA Art Show, which he has dubbed Littletopia. Lobatz was formerly the youngest director of a prominent gallery in San Francisco and founded the public arts organization Art City. In the summer of 2014, she was the head curator of the highly successful public art advertising takeover Way Out West. Collectively the three hope to provide San Francisco with a fresh outlook on contemporary beauty in the arts.

Japan Foundation

The Japan Foundation is Japan's only institution dedicated to carrying out comprehensive international cultural exchange programs throughout the world.  To cultivate friendship and ties between Japan and the world, the Japan Foundation creates global opportunities to foster friendship, trust, and mutual understanding through culture, language, and dialogue. The Japan Foundation was established in October 1972 as a special legal entity supervised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In October 2003, it was reorganized as an independent administrative institution. Based on a government endowment of 78 billion yen, the activities of the Japan Foundation are financed by annual government subsidies, investment revenue, and donations from the private sector.