Interactive Performance Installation

Galerija Filodrammatica, Korzo28/I, Rijeka

31.5. - 6.6. 2019.

Interactive performance installation Talking with oneself (or someone else) speaks about alienation, neurosis and our need to communicate. It explores today’s role of technology as an alleged cause and consequence – but also as a mean to solve (in a controversial way) – the issues of loneliness.

The piece departs from the idea to externalise the inner dialogues between different aspects of one’s personality, one’s different inner voices that many times are not aligned and are the source of internal conflicts. It also considers ways of engaging in a dialogue with different people in an alternative space, people that we actually don’t meet and maybe never will.

The piece refers to existentialist literature and theatre of the absurd. Themes of oneself, loneliness, meaning of being – or even not being – absurdism and relativism merge with contemporary aesthetics of open work, noise, accumulation, superabundance of information and meanings, notions of chance, and questioning of authorship. Also, implicitly the piece refers to themes of surveillance, privacy vs. public exposure, touching the edges of technological issues in society.

This work is also a formal exploration attempting to intertwine technology and theatre in a way that technology becomes a creative co-creator of the scenes. The piece is intended as an interactive and self-generative video that through computer vision and chance computing composes itself. At the same time it is a device for allowing indeterminate performances and a bystander can freely engage, explore and express the potential of the piece. With the use of self-generated stochastic algorithms that run the projections, it is created an alternative space in which the live performance translates in endless possible variations. The performer and audience members have the possibility of interaction, as well as to change the meanings and course of the performance. The recordings are accumulated, recalled and projected in such a way that a performer is invited to interact with the projection/s and have dialogues with him/herself (allowing to express multiple facets of his/her personality) or with another performer. These dialogues could keep going further on the screen in endless variations even when the performer isn’t interacting any longer with the piece, creating multiple ‘scenes’, multiple meanings and, through chance, unexpected or absurdist variations of the same narrative. It is a moment when technology performs and becomes a creator, a director and takes on a life of its own.

The installation begins with a performance of Andrea Crnkovic, presumably at an opening event, where she performs the initial ‘Talking with oneself ’ part of the installation. A 3D video camera automatically and recursively records a series of different performances over time. The first performance is a monologue. As soon as following recordings are completed and recalled, the projection screen is populated with many different versions of the performer and complex conversations can unravel. This part lasts about 10 minutes and audience/participants act as traditional spectators.
Successively every visitor can engage in performing, following Andrea’s example, or freely follow her or his own drive, interacting or not with the video, creating one or more recordings. The recording starts as soon as someone occupies the field of vision of the camera wearing a headset wireless microphone. There is also a possibility that a performer chooses not to talk and expresses him/herself only through the movement or just presence (if that is the case no mic is needed). Even if there may be more participants in interaction, the experience of other participants/viewers – who aren’t directly involved with the installation – is also relevant, as their individual experience completes the piece. It is a participatory piece that asks for audience’s experience, movement in space, and relation to one’s body, voice, and the need to express oneself.

If there is no one interacting with the installation, the technology completely takes over and composes randomly different variations of the ‘scenes’ on the screen, creating every time different dialogues and meanings, connecting the audience to today’s experience of media voyeurism.

The duration of each performance recorded could be anywhere between few seconds and 5 minutes or more, depending on the performer’s intentions.

The idea for the piece has been devised and partially explored during the research of Interactive technology in performing arts conducted by BOUM! in Rijeka through 2018.

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Project cofinanced by

 Grad Rijeka