Sunday 31 August 2014 || “My life is rubbish. I should be more exciting, more connected. I could be useful to Ban Ki-moon…

When: Sunday 31 August 2014
Venue
: SL TV Studio . Stephen Lawrence
Duration: 20 mins
Time: 21.00 – 21.30
Performance by Pattern Fight & Jillian Wallis


Abstract

A central character unsatisfied with her identity will take the audience on a darkly comic exploration of the psychological and ethical implications of simultaneously existing in a virtual and real domain. The piece is a collaboration between digital / animation performance company Pattern Fight www.patternfightperformance.com and theatre director Jillian Wallis (Lecturer in Drama, University of Greenwich).   It will incorporate digital animation and contemporary interconnective on-line devices such as Chat Roulette to examine ways in which we can literally and theatrically physicalize the leaps between real, imagined and virtual worlds. The work is part of an ongoing research interest that considers the impact of modern communication tools as social and cultural licensees and how these can open up possibilities available for physical and visual performance making.  Questions around the disturbing, potentially dangerous nature of live internet connectivity form part of the provocation. Who will we meet? Do we want each other’s time? How far can we play with the way we represent ourselves virtually? In the performance, the character of Sophie Stace discovers a territory where “the thrill of the Real” (Žižek, 2002) is a common motivator.

 If social media encourages a leap of faith in one’s own abilities and knowledge, a confidence boost, does it also invite a shift in self-perception and belief in how we might engage with the external world? Faced with a persistent pressure of instructions to update our situation, add a new skill, tweet our comments, publicise our travels and effectively make our on line presence felt, can we slip easily in and out of a more satisfying, apparently interesting and responsive persona? The enjoyment to be found in increased human communication and visual chatter can feel fresh and inspiring, invigorated by the on-line reception of the latest, improved version of who we are. Yet does this facilitate a slide towards a permanent state of glorious delusion where the vestiges of what was once before can no longer ever seem enough?

The performance will include edited material from the findings of live interactive research, showing how the artists responded to it as inspiration and to further our understanding of the medium in performance. It will draw upon the online responses from people around the world, randomly selected through on-line connectivity so that, as performers and contributors to the research, their presence helps to dissolve the celluloid divide. Due to the nature of the research, members of the audience have the option of meeting their hostess through on-line contact in advance of the performance.

 

Reference: Žižek, Slavoj. Welcome to the Desert of the Real. London: Verso, 2002.