The Launch of Nelly Ben Hayoun’s Doppelgängers at re:publica

8th May 2017, Berlin, Germany

Today on the 8th May 2017, in Berlin, at digital conference re:publica, Nelly Ben Hayoun (NBH) Studios unveils a new hyperreal experience. Two doppelgängers are performing as Nelly Ben Hayoun on stage. This presentation marks NBH Studios’ investigation into the creative geographies, contemporary mythologies and politics of experiential practices. In the coming years, Nelly Ben Hayoun and her doppelgängers will be appearing in multiple places and various locations challenging notions of space and time but also questioning politics and economics of performance and public speaking.

This announcement follows Ben Hayoun’s launch of the University of the Underground the world's first postgraduate university based in the underground of the urban spaces and supporting unconventional research practices. At the University of the Underground, Ben Hayoun proposes a multidisciplinary and experiential approach to working within institutions in order to modify power structures and support social dreaming and social actions.

Of her doppelgängers, Ben Hayoun comments:

“When you design experiences, you act at the nexus of multiple disciplines; film, music, design, theater etc... The politics implied in merging these practices oscillates between ideology and poetics. This is what makes experiential practices so attractive to brands; it allows them to connect with their audiences at a visceral, emotional level. Now, as a designer of experiences, I have always been more intrigued by the potential of experiential practices in the context of public institutions and what they can do for politics and power shifts. Effectively experiences can unravel systems of meanings that speech solely can’t. In this context, I have seen the development of design practices towards the realm of mythology. Designers are able to shape poetics and systems. In 1957, French linguist and philosopher Roland Barthes published Mythologies. It is his personal account, as a mythologist of contemporary semiotics (between 1954 and 1956), in France. In Mythologies, Barthes explains that myths are, in their most basic form, a ‘special type of speech’ and that ‘language is also a design feature’. By working with my doppelgängers I decide to experiment with language but also theatrical and geographical practices. As a designer, I have decided to experiment and duplicate in the context of public speaking; at first- to shape and develop new form of languages and meanings using experiential practices, mythologies and…. doppelgängers. It is indeed a real pleasure to work with Anaïs and Aglaé Zebrowski, our new additions to the team at NBH Studios. Both have extensive experience in theatrical practices and they will add a new level of critical reflection and dynamics to our studios. We look forward to working with them further and develop further experiments."

Known for manufacturing the impossible, NBH Studios allows for you to become an astronaut in your living room while dark energy is being created in your kitchen sink and a volcano erupts on your couch. The interdisciplinary ‘Willy Wonka’ London-based design studios now goes one step ahead to develop a surrealistic human experience in which Nelly Ben Hayoun questions the future economics and politics of performative labour and experiential practices.


Aglaé was born in 1995 in the south of France, moved to Scotland when she was 18 to study Acting and Performance. She's a trilingual actor, model and videographer. She contributes to NBH studios by working as Nelly Ben Hayoun's doppelgänger and showing how Acting and Performance can be used in experiences and public speeches to engage with an audience. Her work is inspired by Shakespeare, Harold Pinter, Jean Genet and Edith Piaf.

You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter


Anaïs was born in 1991 in the south of France, moved to Spain when she was 18 to study history of Art. After graduating, she started studying Fashion Design in 2016. She's a trilingual fashion designer, painter and photographer. She contributes to NBH studios by working as Nelly Ben Hayoun's doppelgänger and expressing how performance, fashion, design and science can work together to connect with members of the public. Her work is inspired by PopArt, Leonardo Da Vinci, Charles Baudelaire and Alexander McQueen.

You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter

re:publica is one of the largest and most exciting conferences about digital culture in the world. Since its foundation in 2007, it has grown from a cosy blogger meeting with 700 participants into a wide-ranging “society conference”, with 8.000 visitors at the anniversary edition re:publica TEN. Representatives of digital culture share their knowledge and decisionmaking tools and discuss the future of the information society with a wide mix of activists, scientists, hackers, entrepreneurs, NGOs, journalists, social media and marketing experts, and many others. Re:publica aim to foster innovation and create synergies between net politics, online marketing, network technology, digital society, and (pop) culture. For more information about this event, follow this link