I recently went to Wales, where I gave my friends from DorkyPark and NTW a helping hand in combining Dance Performance with Public Art and Digital Communication Systems. The director Constanza Macras —which I met at MIT— asked me to help her transmit a dance performance from a forest in North Wales to the streets of Cardiff. She wanted us to find a way to let people in Cardiff interact with the performance using their cellphones and potentially other gadgets. I came up with a metaphor to overlay the forest and the city as signal spectres over each other, using real-time mobile data and reciprocal video transmissions. So cameras in Cardiff would transmit people’s expressions to televisions in the forest, and a crew of filmmakers would transmit the performance event live to a screen located in a populated street in Cardiff. Additionally, passers-by in the city were encouraged to inject text messages into the stream they were watching via SMS, and this same texts were made available to the performers in the forest.
To me, this combination enabled the kind of feedback loop that I hold dear to my heart. Performers are exposed to audience participation, and in exchange, the audience is forced to accept the intrusion of performance in a space not dedicated to it.