Welcome to the website of artist, multi-disciplinary technologist, director, hacker, and composer Martin Backes

New Artwork: Noostopia

After months of hard work, I am happy to share some exciting news. Together with Choreographer Moritz Ostruschnjak, I created a dance and theatre piece for Theater Bielefeld called NOOSTOPIA. Expect lots of robots, a crazy stage & lightning design coming straight out of a virtual world, great music and costumes and of course 10 great dancers. Its probably one of the most ambitious projects so far for me and I am very much looking forward to its premiere in January.



English Press Text:
“We were here”. There’s no way of denying it. Climate catastrophe, scarcity of resources and genetic control are phenomena of our present time. They were largely caused by those technological innovations through which we actually wanted to improve our lives. And now that things are getting out of hand, the maxim for action is shifting: we were just trying to subjugate the wild and unpredictable nature, but now it is to be protected and preserved. But what do we actually understand by “nature”? Isn’t our mental concept essentially determined by technologies? Where does nature end and where does the technosphere begin?
TANZ Bielefeld embraces the digital: walking robotic branches, pneumatic mushrooms and music robots determine the landscape of Noostopia (noos: “intellect”, “mind”, topia: “place”, “space”) and transform the TOR 6 Theaterhaus into an interdisciplinary experimental field that examines the consequences of the human urge for innovation. At the intersection of contemporary dance and digital media art, choreographer Moritz Ostruschnjak, artist Martin Backes, and stage designer Thilo Ullrich question the connection between what has born from nature and what has been made. What awaits us in the “Next Nature”? How can we encounter it if we haven’t outsourced ourselves beforehand?

Supported by the Ministry of Culture and Science of North Rhine-Westphalia in cooperation with the NRW KULTURsekretariat.

German Press Text:
»Wir waren hier«. Das ist nicht zu leugnen. Klimakatastrophe, Ressourcenknappheit und genetische Kontrolle sind Phänomene unserer Gegenwart. Hervorgerufen wurden sie maßgeblich durch jene technologischen Innovationen, durch die wir unser Leben eigentlich verbessern wollten. Und jetzt, da die Dinge außer Kontrolle geraten, verschieben sich die Handlungsmaxime: Gerade versuchten wir noch die wilde, unberechenbare Natur zu unterwerfen, jetzt soll sie geschützt und erhalten werden. Aber was verstehen wir eigentlich unter »Natur«? Ist unser gedankliches Konzept nicht ganz wesentlich von Technologien mitbestimmt? Wo hört die Natur auf und wo fängt die Technosphäre an?
TANZ Bielefeld entdeckt das Digitale: Laufende Äste, pneumatische Pilze und Musikroboter bestimmen die Landschaft von Noostopia (noos: »Geist«, »Verstand«, topia: »Ort«, »Raum«) und verwandeln das TOR 6 Theaterhaus in ein interdisziplinäres Experimentierfeld, das die Konsequenzen des menschlichen Innovationsdrangs durchleuchtet. An der Schnittstelle von zeitgenössischem Tanz und digitaler Medienkunst hinterfragen Choreograf Moritz Ostruschnjak, Künstler Martin Backes und Ausstatter Thilo Ullrich den Zusammenhang von Gewordenem und Gemachtem. Was erwartet uns in der »Next Nature«? Wie können wir ihr begegnen, sollten wir uns vorher nicht selbst outgesourct haben?

Gefördert vom Ministerium für Kultur und Wissenschaft des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen in Zusammenarbeit mit dem NRW KULTURsekretariat.

Photo Documentation

Photos: Joseph Ruben

Process and Production


Early Studio Rehearsals (with Dancers and Kinetic Walkers 01)

Early Studio Rehearsals (with Dancers and Kinetic Walkers 02)

Early Studio Rehearsals (with Dancers and Kinetic Walkers 03)

Early Studio Rehearsals (with Dancers and Kinetic Walkers 04)

Early Studio Rehearsals (with Dancers and Kinetic Walkers 05)

Stage Rehearsals (with Dancers and Kinetic Walkers 01)

Stage Rehearsals (with Dancers and Kinetic Walkers 02)

Photos: Martin Backes

Video Teasers

Kinetic Walkers – Video Teaser:

Choreography – Video Teaser:

Music Robots, Pneumatic Chirpers and Stage Design – Video Teaser:

And here`s the complete ‘Making of NOOSTOPIA’ combined in one single video:

Robots / Automats

For Noostopia, I created three different robot parts:
1. Kinetic Walkers
2. Pneumatic Chirpers
3. Music Automats

Kinetic Walkers

Kinetic Walker (Side View 01)

Kinetic Walker (Front View 01)

Kinetic Walker (Side View 02)

Kinetic Walkers (On Stage 01)

Kinetic Walkers (On Stage 02)

Kinetic Walkers (On Stage with Power Supply 01)

Kinetic Walkers (Prototyping and Production 01)

Kinetic Walkers (Prototyping and Production 02)

The Kinetic Walkers are inspired by a research paper called: “Improvised Robotic Design With Found Objects” by Azumi Maekawa, Ayaka Kume, Hironori Yoshida, Jun Hatori, Jason Naradowsky, and Shunta Saito.

Pneumatic Chirpers

Pneumatic Chirpers (Prototyping and Production)

Final Pneumatic Chirpers (all together without cables)

Final Pneumatic Chirper (Birdcall: Owl)

Final Pneumatic Chirper (Birdcall: Nightingale)

Final Pneumatic Chirper (Birdcall: Common Moorhen)

Final Pneumatic Chirper (Birdcall: Woodpecker)

Music Automats

Music Automats (Prototyping and Production)

Music Automats (On Stage 01)

Music Automats (On Stage 02)

Music Automats (On Stage 03)

Music Automats (On Stage 04)

Music Automats (On Stage 05)

Music Automats (On Stage 06)

Music Automats (On Stage 07)

Music Automats (On Stage 08)

Music Automats (On Stage 09)

Photos: Martin Backes

Brand Identity

For the piece, I also created a fictional visual Brand identity which includes logo, typography and colors.


For the costumes, we created a sort of fashion brand which follows the rules of the overall visual brand identity (see above).

Photos: Joseph Ruben

Noopstopia Soundtrack / Spotify Playlist

Here`s the official NOOSTOPIA Soundtrack / Spotify playlist. Included are all tracks used in the actual dance piece. We also added a few more tracks which didn’t make it in the end, but were a big part of the process developing NOOSTOPIA. Happy listening.



Premiere: Friday January 24 at 8:00pm
Other dates: Noostopia runs until Thursday February 20. Follow the link for all dates and tickets


Please note, the show takes place at Theaterlabor Tor 6 which is very close to the Theater Bielefeld.

Hermann-Kleinewächter-Str. 4
33602 Bielefeld


Idea and Concept: Moritz Ostruschnjak, Martin Backes
Staging and Choreography: Moritz Ostruschnjak
Media Art and Robots: Martin Backes
Set and Costume Design: Thilo Ullrich
Music and Sound Design: Martin Backes, Moritz Ostruschnjak
Dramaturgy: Janett Metzger
Choreographic Cooperation and Training Management: Sarah Deltenre
Production Management: Christa Beland
Project Assistance: Cara Marina Quartier
Development and Programming Robot Units: Michael Ang, So Kanno, Ties van Asseldonk, Martin Backes
Dancers: Dhélé Agbetou, Tommaso Balbo, Carla Bonsoms i Barra, Melissa Cosseta, Gyeongjin Lee, Noriko Nishidate, Alexandre Nodari, Adrien Ursulet, Simon Wolant, Elvira Zúñiga Porras

More Information

Theatre Bielefeld