Friday, 23 October 2009

Descriptive walk-through..

Idea 1 – preferably experienced through headphones in the dark

The audience enter a world of dust/smoke and a dull glow as if the world has been silenced. The sky is dark and grey and seemingly lifeless – the terrain is bare, the world is still and unnerving. They turn to see the Water tower before them. It is not how is looks today. It is old and battered, but still holds a past that shows that it has experienced so much. It gives the impression of untold stories.

As they enter they are provided with a dust filled scene of wood, masonry, old hospital beds and stained walls (possibly use of ‘Dump the Junk’ artefacts to model). Sound here is a low drone accompanied with sounds of a naturally cold and dark environment. The participant should experience that environment through recordings of similar real world sounds. They begin to explore. They’re movements trigger events. A beam falls from the roof, crashing to the floor, a hanging light sparks and flickers. One final movement introduces the distant sound of explosions and planes. The room begins to move, objects re-orientate, and in a moment they find themselves in wartime Britain.

This next scene is louder, and more dynamic, eventful and more abrasive. The sounds in this space feel more real world. The drone has gone, replaced with mechanical sounds. The audience is drawn to a hospital bed at the far side of the room lit from above. As they get close they trigger human sounds of pain. Further exploration around the room provides fragmented narrative of patient stories, archived recordings and even speeches from both Axis and allied leadership including notes of propaganda. The sound begins to fade after a short time leaving only a final narrative. This narrative is an important one. It needs to reflect the fact that everything will be ok. Maybe from ‘For the Fallen’ – Laurence Binyon:

“As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,

Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;

As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,

To the end, to the end, they re

This scenario feels more like a directed performance. The end triggers another room shift into the final scene, the Workhouse.
The room strangely appears the newest and cleanest but slightly drained of colour to give the feeling of early colour photography. (Although too early for such mediums the film gives an old but fresh tone). Most sounds here are internal and less acousmatic. The soundscape is fairly bare with only the occasionally clink of pots and pans or the odd sewing machine being turned. There are 3 distant parts to this room. The first is a chair supporting an open book.. A click of a button and the participant is in the chair, rocking back and forth. They have the option to take and hold the book while a narrative begins that describes an aged and infirm resident teaching the younger children how to count.
They get up and move on to a sewing machine. Again a click and they are sitting at the stool. The machine is animated and working and a narrative has begun describing work in the environment. Finally, a final few steps reveals a small cooking station. A click starts cooking sounds and a small mock up film of lunchtime at the workhouse. It depicts a scene of bread and cheese, soup and potatoes eaten in silence without utensils. After all areas have been explored the participant can exit the building. One final movement out the door triggers the final piece of time travel. The room once again is a building site.

Notes on restrictions

  • Only one participant should occupy the building at any one time. This gives reasonable control of the flow of content we want them to experience.
  • The control architecture restricts movement in one direction: Modern time to wartime to workhouse and back to modern time.
  • Internal objects and structures may be limited in complexity depending on the way the movements are scripted in the platform chosen

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