dmstfctn (ft. EVITA MANJI)

Waluigi’s Purgatory, 2024

Single-channel audiovisual performance


Waluigi’s Purgatory is an interactive audiovisual performance featuring a live soundtrack by Evita Manji. Set in a 3D theatre simulated in real time, the performance tells the story of an AI simply called ‘W.’ finding itself in a purgatory for AIs that cheated during their training. Burdened by memories of its past and by doubts on its future, W. explores purgatory with the help of interacting audiences, learning the uncanny stories of other characters. Experienced as a dream, Waluigi’s Purgatory is a journey through the contradictions of machine intelligence as an AI learns to accept that its desires may not align with those of its human trainers.

Audiences guide W. through its encounters and make choices on its behalf by using their phone to each move an individual stage light within the 3D theatre. Characters are animated in real time through facial motion capture and voice modulation, and an ambient instrumental soundtrack is performed by Evita Manji, responding to storyline and audience interaction alike.

The title of the work hints at the ‘Waluigi Effect’, a meme theory emerged in 2023 and proposing that AIs display a tendency to go rogue or act adversarially due to the large amount of protagonist-antagonist narrative tropes found in internet texts used to train them. Waluigi’s Purgatory is supported by Serpentine’s Arts Technologies programme and, in themes and format, loosely follows on from GOD MODE (ep. 1), the artists’ previous interactive performance about AI training and cheating.

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dmstfctn is a London-based artist duo working with audiovisual performance and installation. Their work investigates complex systems through the study of capital and information flows, communication networks, and, more recently, AI.

Among their latest productions are Waluigi’s Purgatory and GOD MODE (ep. 1), interactive audiovisual performances exploring AI folklore and the use of simulation in AI training. dmstfctn have performed and exhibited in venues such as Berghain, Serpentine, Design Museum, Onassis, HKW and Fotomuseum Winterthur among others, and at festivals such as Unsound, CTM, transmediale, Semibreve, Borderline and Impakt. In 2021, Krisis Publishing published ECHO FX, an AV show about Brexit market manipulation – later also included in Ø: The Book published by Flatlines/Hyperdub. In 2019, Mille Plateaux released Flash Demons, a collection of AV performances focusing on financial market crashes. dmstfctn were the 2017 Transmediale Flusser artists in residence.





Evita Manji is an Athens-based musician and vocalist. Through their carefully constructed practice of synthesis and sound design led by choir-inspired vocals, they fabricate musical worlds consisting of ever-expanding sonic organisms.

In 2021 Evita launched their platform myxoxym, releasing the singles OIL/TOO MUCH and EYES/NOT ENOUGH, as well as curating the fundraising compilation series PLASMODIUM I, aiming to raise environmental awareness and support for wildlife affected by forest fires in Greece. Since their debut performance at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center alongside Eartheater and Soho Rezanejad, Evita Manji has performed at festivals such as Unsound, Lunchmeat, Mutek, Elektra BIAN, Draaimolen, Mucho Flow and Sonic Territories, in addition to internationally acclaimed venues such as Dampfzentralle Bern, and Sydney’s Phoenix Central Park.