Sometimes you bring two things together in the hope that, because you like them both, they will complement each other and lead you on to another level. Cinnamon & banana. National radio & the 45 minute drive into town. This week I had a few hours of dilemma when the theatre excercises I had thought would be helpful, providing methods for leading and guiding one another/ audience, did not help in creating an experiential, interactive ground for play. I had thought an old path would assist me in a new navigation. It did not. Perhaps it was just the choice of exercise, but a string around my finger didn’t lead me anywhere useful. Actually, that’s not entirely true - where it led me was to realise that a new path needed be forged.
Success is the result of failure. Onwards, concentrating on the exploration of the Call to Actions around us. This is my new exercise:
a) Put some things in a room. Go to each object. Ask it these questions. Ask them with your body. Poke and prod, displace and explore. Listen.
What have you been made to do?
What do you ask me to do?
Where are you, why are you here?
How do you work, what are you made of?
How do you want me to treat you?
How can I notice you more?
How can I look at you in a different way?
What else can you do, that is not your main function or objective?
b) Then, ask yourself:
How can I give this one character?
How can I accentuate or negate it’s functions?
Can I team it with some other objects to bring out new features?
When I place it in such a way, or pair it in such a way, or move it in a such a way - what is it's Call to Action, what does it ask us to do?
c) Then, ask yourself:
What would this experience of the Call to Action be like for the audience?
How is the CTA interactive?
Can I team the object with some of the other objects to invite an interaction?
d) Then, ask yourself:
Is this at all interesting?
e) If it is not interesting, leave it. If it is interesting, then concentrate on how the CTA experience involves the audience in these four steps:
f) Then, invite audience to experience the CTA. Notice:
Do they respond to the CTA? If not, why not?
If so, how?
g) Then, refine the CTA around those four steps again
e) If the CTA of the object would be improved with assistance:
imagine what the objects could do
figure out how to make them do that
pull things apart,
mash them together,
attach sensors to them,
These exercises have resulted in my exploration of the CTAs in skipping ropes, fan heaters, architectural chalk lines, automatic insect spray dispensers, and mobile phones. I’m also soldering up some motors and reprogramming a spotlight.
I’m quite fascinated by our mobile phones and how disruptive they are in our lives. My mentor comes to visit me in the studio. Before she comes, I leave my phone with it’s alarm on, in the far corner of one of the dark empty studios. It rings, it’s sound echoing throughout the hallways. The mentor arrives, and in the midst of our greeting, she is fumbling about in her bag. “My phone’s ringing, I’m not sure why”, she says. I suggest that it might not be her phone, and invite her to follow the sound. Hearing it bleating makes both of us feel anxious, urgent and strange, and relieved to turn it off. Such a violent Call to Action, the ringing of our phones!
Later, to end the session, I want to use the phone again, this time to create a more pleasing experience. With us both in the same room, I call my mentor, and by talking and suggesting routes, I guide her out of the room to find a key, unlock a door, and explore dimly lit spaces. I guide her back to me. We both enjoy the degree of separation and collaboration, and adventure. We are both autonomous, and physically distant, but hearing and speaking together - navigating, participating, conversing, collaborating.
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