project image
Robert Cmar

first performed on July 18, 2019
Theater at New Museum, New York, NY
performed once in 2019


Asher Remy-Toledo, Richard Savery, Jason Barnes, Brian Reynolds, Mary Esther Carter, Earl Maneein, Mylez Gittens

New York, NY / Atlanta, GA


“How the Light Gets In” explores the relationship between humans and technology through shared creative production.

The performance features vocalist Mary Esther Carter singing a duet with A.I. Anne. A.I. Anne is a machine learning entity, trained in Mary’s voice by composer and music technologist Richard Savery.

A.I. Anne is named after my aunt who was severely autistic and suffered from apraxia, a neurological disconnect of the brain to the vocal cords. My aunt could hum, but was not able to speak. A.I. Anne has the ability to vocalize, but cannot create language. The performance also features drummer Jason Barnes and marathon runner Brian Reynolds. Jason Barnes lost his right arm in a workplace accident. Since the accident he has been fitted with a robotic arm developed by Gil Weinberg, founding director of the Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology. With two drumsticks situated on his robotic arm, one stick is controlled by Barnes and one is controlled by artificial intelligence, which improvises off Barnes’ drumming. Using this prosthesis, Barnes is able to drum faster than what is humanly possible.

Brian Reynolds is a world record marathon runner who is also a double (below-knee) amputee. Brian uses carbon fiber running prostheses, or running blades. In the performance Brian runs on a treadmill. By amplifying his blades as he runs, Brian’s strides become a percussive score.

The performance also includes violinists Earl Maneein and Mylez Gittens. Maneein is a heavy-metal violinist who also has performed baroque, bluegrass, and jazz music with musicians ranging from Jay-Z to the Strokes. Gittens came to New York from Barbados with an extensive background in jazz and fusion.

“How the Light Gets In” focuses on hope in a time where inclusion and pursuit of new possibilities is being challenged. The performers create an unforgettable, otherworldly experience that explores the relationship and potential of human and machine collaborations through shared creative production, artificial intelligence, and human fortitude. The title is taken from Leonard Cohen’s 1992 song “Anthem,” my performance takes inspiration from the lyrics:

Forget your perfect offering

There is a crack, a crack in everything

That’s how the light gets in