Friday, 23 October 2009

An important Focus

This week really hit home about how we need to focus on what we want the audience to experience from the piece. We explored some ideas:

  • The movement of time - how can we make this free flowing?
  • Do we want to use SL at all? Are there advantages to building in an exhibition environment and having more control over the experience
  • We feel strongly that sound should be an essential part of the interactive experience. The participate should be able to trigger and interact with fragmented narrative describing historic opinion. Visual content could be used minimally?
  • A possible physically change when moving between time periods. E.g. if a person/avatar speaks they’re sound is manipulated and changed by the environment. Maybe they can choose to change their age and clothing to suit the environment.
  • Interaction between the participant and period objects. Sewing machines, tools etc
  • Potentially limiting the amount of time people can interact with the work before it is completely deteriorated (achievable through temporary objects or scripted movements over time
  • Atmospheres: making dirty air in the workhouse, clean air in the hospital,
  • How to get the audience to enjoy the performance?
  • Can we allow people to become part of the work, not just experiencing but interacting, changing things, and becoming an integral element of the piece.

Ideas from Rose our Selly Oak collaborator
Rose was kind enough to send us back our very fragmented project proposal with some very positive feedback and a number of very interesting opinions and resources.
The first piece of interest is a site specific piece proposed by the Birmingham rep called 'Shell Shock'. The work will tie together experiences from the war in Afghanistan and scenarios during the second world war. This seems really interesting particularly when thinking about how we wish to treat time in the water tower project. This may be worth looking into.

Rose liked the ideas of an immersive environment and especially the use of a fragmented narrative to allows individual interpretation. She has a good point and i think its important to be true to opinionated narrative and archive accounts rather then to pull the participants thinking one way or another. We also have to consider how the visuals and other sound elements guide you through the space, taking care not to over suggest thoughts and views as well as be too overwhelming.

I find Rose's ideas of change very interesting. She believes the unsettling and fast pace nature of change requires a grieving process. In this sense the Selly Oak projects help to facilitate this. The water tower project therefore needs to address such issues and provide a vehicle to reassure the participant that change is healthy and that its OK to feel as if you don't have complete control. Referencing elements of Selly Oaks history within the piece may help to reassure the participant (which in an exhibition environment would probably be someone with real connections to the hospital and therefore completely effected by change) and deal with what is happening to the hospital, 'allow the mind to begin the adaption process' to quote Rose.

OK, what next?
I think the next logical step is to combine all our experience and ideas over the last few weeks into some very descriptive 'walk-throughs' of the space. Between us we need to solidify the best way to respond to the site, and from talking, our collective opinion wholeheartedly falls towards viewer participation. Personally i feel that we need to add that focus of reassurance. Through the piece we at least need to suggest that change is an important process of improvement and that anxiety is natural in such a time.

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