Summer is slowly fading away and I haven’t written here since May, which is a shame because plenty of interesting things has been going on.
This week me and Ebba Petrén has had the fantastic opportunity to go to Performing Arts Forum. We have a generous grant from The Swedish Arts Grant Committee to be able to do research on the avatar formats. The last week we’ve been thinking about what we have done so far and explored new ideas on what is possible to do within the avatar frame – humans being directed by a voice, turning them into something else, hybrids between man and machine.
First of all I want to say that this place is amazing. I was here last year to attend the Agora Seminars and I have had the intention to come back ever since. Just have a look of the village S:t Erme as it emerge from my bedroom window tonight:
Here are a couple of the ideas that we’ve been working with, I’ll probably get back with more later …
The idea is to explore what happens when you change into an avatar and the intention to do so. In the most simple iteration one person (human) has a conversation with anouther one who wear headphones and reciev instructions (avatar). When the avatar stretch its hand up (following an instruction, of course) the human can chose to take its position. The avatar can never chose to be a human, but the human can chose to turn herself into an avatar.
We did a recording where the avatar is asking questions and then making interruptions. Encouraging the human to talk, but not really responding in a proper way.
We also tried out a “Round Robin” structure with 4 avatar tracks and a group of audience members, who could chose to take the headphones during certain circumstances. The curiosity on behalf of the audience was high and everyone wanted to become avatars at some point.
We have a lot more ideas on how avatar-human interaction could work out that we didn’t have the possibility to try out in practise yet. It could be an avatar hosting seance, initiating a game or introducing conversational topics in a social situation.
Here is the studio we’ve been working in with the simple set up for the 4-avatar switching test.
Phone call piece
Here is a new idea of a piece where the audience give their phone numbers to us when they enter the performance. We have a dramaturgy, a railroaded set of actions that the audience members execute/perform by getting phone call instructions, wishes, begs from the operators, a kind of call center. This would not really be avatarisation, there would freedom to say no to negotiate or say no to an instruction. The operators/game masters are seated in a call center, a room near by, above them or in the same room but behind a window.
“Excuse me, could you help us by…”
“There is a camera, can you make the documentation of this piece?”
“Can you take responsibility for …”
This way we could produce an aesthetizised social dynamic in the room.