we are all lost for now (Zoom experimentation session)
During quarantine, we have translated an experiment we began earlier this year in the studio with performers, in which the audio of their movements is amplified and modified to create the score to which they perform, to an online format. Interacting on the Zoom platform initiated a process of questioning the transitional spaces of our habitats, the lesser occupied spaces of homes, our identities, our bodies, our journeys of development. What if we open up and suspend those moments, spaces, or stages we usually pass through? What comes of magnifying transition at this transitional moment?
In the Ether (studio rehearsal documentation)
The proposed piece will incorporate live video effects that can be accomplished through elegant, minimal mechanisms assembled in our own homes, such as this Facebook video livestream from our series of “ether” experiments over the last several years. The delay loop is generated by projecting the livestream’s audio and video into the space capturing the livestream, taking advantage of the latency of live online video and turning the “bug” of this interface (which suddenly everyone is experiencing via videoconference) into a feature.
Pods (installation documentation)
The audio portion of we are all lost for now will be based on our installation Pods, which walked participants through an individual embodied experience (excerpted narration can be heard in the clip above, overlaid with a visitor interacting with the piece).
The Tower Is Us (A Prisoner’s Cinema) (excerpts)
This hypnagogic transmedia performance combines live immersive dance-theater and interactive game to decode an urgent message in an unspoken language. Viewers are recast as players in the performance, in which they are thrust into a moment where a growing number of people are reporting sightings of ethereal beings desperately try to communicate using an elaborate system of gestures. As players begin to have similar encounters, they discover tools to learn this signed language alongside the characters in the narrative, racing to interpret the visitors’ critical communication before it’s too late. A primary intention of the piece, related to that of we are all lost for now, is to catalyze meaningful interaction among audience-participants, as well as between them and the performers, who are intimately connected in a temporary community of strangers through the performers’ presentation of a puzzle that the players are tasked with solving. The immersive nature of the piece emboldens audiences to be adventurous and act in ways they might not ordinarily by blurring the boundaries between their daily lives and the fictional narrative. Rather than being framed as a dance performance, the audience is cast as characters within the story itself, whom the main human character, Meredith (1:59–2:23) interacts with warmly via audio, video, and smartphone (with numbers collected during ticket reservation). A full performance documented in 360-degree video can be found here.
In this site-specific, 360-degree live performance, viewers experience the piece from their vantage point in the hands and subjectivity of someone who awakens in unusual surroundings, encounters others, and searches for a way out. The piece was originally performed and live-streamed to YouTube on Thursday, October 20, 2016, in the international Online Performance Art Festival from the Museum of Human Achievement, and was later edited to a 5-minute virtual experience for presentation in the exhibition Spam’s the Internet: The Restaurant at Fusebox Festival in April 2017.
ANNI (Archival Narrative Network Initiative) (installation and performance documentation)
ANNI, or the Archival Narrative Network Initiative (inspired by the Voyager program and referencing one of its creators, Ann Druyan), is a transmedia installation-performance that collected audio recordings via a computer interface with which participants engage in individualized conversations about the nature of humanity. ANNI explores questions of consciousness and sentient artificial intelligence, control over curation of and assigning meaning to information, the gulf between digital data and embodied human experience, and the value of human intuition in identifying signal in the noise. ANNI was commissioned by Connecticut College for the Ammerman Center’s 15th Biennial Symposium on Arts and Technology in February 2016, and it became part of ARCOS’ larger transmedia work Domain, which can be found at its own microsite.