Pablo Garretón - Transparence
Composition commissioned by eID for amplified ensemble, live electronics and video installation.

Seven musicians behind seven transparent screens: “Transparence” is a piece about transparency in our digital society. A society in which - in view of readily available information - trust as a social practice is becoming obsolete and giving way to control. Correlation replaces causality and the question of “why” becomes superfluous in the face of “it-is-so”.

Music theater for amplified ensemble, live electronics and video installation // Text: ChatGPT // Speaker: Silvana Mamone // Stage design: Paul Pape, Pablo Garretón // Sound engineering: Hendrik Manook // Architectural consulting: Nicolas Tolchinsky // Composition, video and electronics: Pablo Garretón // Artistic director: Felix Knoblauch

Transparency in a digital society

Transparence is a piece about transparency in our digital society, a society where—with a view to readily available information—trust as a social practice becomes obsolete and gives way to control. Thus, the transparency society has a structural proximity to the surveillance society.

Causal correlations and big data

Understanding human needs becomes relative for those who have power over data. Whoever understands Big Data understands behavioral patterns and social phenomena before the individual can even anticipate them. Correlation replaces causality, and the question of why becomes unnecessary in the face of “it is so.”

“Google Glass totalizes the hunter’s optics, which blocks out everything that promises no prey, i.e. no information. The deeper happiness of perception, of seeing, however, lies in its lack of efficiency. It arises from the long gaze that lingers with things without exploiting them.”

Byung-Chul Han, In The Swarm

Pablo Garretón

Pablo Garretón is a composer with interests in chamber music with electronics, sound art, video installation and performance. In all these different formats, he always works with his personal attention to detail and relates sound to our society and the environment. Garretón studied composition in Santiago de Chile and completed a master’s degree in electronic music with Michael Beil as well as the concert exam at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz in Cologne.

He has worked as a composer and performer with live electronics in solo pieces and in numerous interdisciplinary projects. His interest in critical perspectives on new technologies has led to pieces such as his transmedia installations “Re-cognize me 2.0” in 2021 and “Transparence” in 2023, in which he combines live video, composition, electronic music and performance.

Text basis: In the swarm – views of the digital

“In the Swarm” is a book by South Korean philosopher Byung-Chul Han that deals with the effects of digitalization and technology on society and the human psyche. Han describes the negative effects of information technology and social media on individuals and society, in particular the rapid increase in isolation and excessive demands. The book challenges us to think about how we behave in a digital world and how we can defend ourselves against its negative effects.

“Trust is an act of faith that is becoming obsolete in the face of readily available information. The information society discredits all faith.”

Byung-Chul Han, In The Swarm

Libretto and ChatGPT

ChatGPT is an AI language model trained by OpenAI. It uses a technology called “Transformer” and can perform tasks such as text generation, text summarization and question-answering systems. It is able to understand and generate natural language, making it a tool in applications such as chatbots, virtual assistants and more. ChatGPT can compose poems and formulate them according to certain specifications. The libretto was created accordingly.

Paul Pape

Paul Pape lives and works in Offenbach am Main. He studies at the HfG Offenbach am Main – Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst – in the photography class with Prof. Martin Liebscher and in the graphic design class with Prof. Sascha Lobe and Prof. Klaus Hesse.
Paul is a member of Atelier Wäscherei in Offenbach am Main. He co-developed and built the stage set – the transparent screens – for Transparence.

Making of…

Transparence has been in development since the commission was awarded to Pablo Garretón at the beginning of 2022. The piece is musically and visually full of challenges and requires well thought-out spatial planning. The particular difficulty here was to conceive a visually sophisticated piece of music theater that is also flexible enough to be performed after the premiere. This gave rise to the idea of developing mobile screens made from opera foils.


The Opera slides are designed in 9:16 smartphone format and are intended as a reminder of the digital projects of the past two years.