During the Corona crisis i’ve been noticing some questions popping up from people in the performance and theatre arena trying to imagine or getting interested in new forms that might be more possible within the current and forseeable constraints we’re facing.
I’m working on a number of things that I hope will help this debate and will post them here and elsewhere when ready, but for now –
I’ve decided to share some passwords to videos of past work below, not because the work in their entirety offer any packaged-up solutions (they all require a presentation framework and people coming together to do them) but because i think there are some approaches and formal devices within them that might give rise to other ideas by people who are already heading in a certain direction.
Most of my work is pretty hard to capture in documented form, but I think these ones come over kind of ok.
I’d be happy to hear any thoughts / responses / questions – you can get me on twitter @aantt or email
THIS IS NOT MY VOICE SPEAKING – 2011 – with Britt Hatzius
For between 2 and 4 people at a time in a simple, large-ish room.
password – notmyvoice
info here >
GURUGURU – 2008 – with Sam Britton and Joji Koyama
info here > http://www.anthampton.com/guruguru2.html
‘Without giving away too much, I can tell you that for 50 minutes, I sat on a named seat (‘Dickie’ to correspond with my name tag) in a non-confrontational group therapy style semi circle with the other four participants, facing a TV monitor, while we were each sporadically given instructions for what to do and say via headphones. And I thoroughly enjoyed it. As someone with a strong dislike for enforced participation and ‘organised fun’, this may seem to be quite a turn up for the books, but there could be a number of factors that contributed to this (…) The piece unfolds into exactly the kind of performance I enjoy, with quite ordinary people saying quite ordinary things in an increasingly un-ordinary situation, carefully engineered by the artists. And they successfully manage to construct a sense of temporary community without even being in the room – impressive!’
– from “Tonight Matthew, I’m going to be Dickie…” by Rachel Dobbs.
The Extra People – full video
Info here >
password is > extras
Here’s a few notes to clarify the video –
• All the sound is heard via by participating audience via in-ear headphones. The audio from the video is best listened to with headphones, to give a sense of the binaural effects (once in the space).
• The voice is a text-to-speech ‘tool’, a child’s voice, which exists here (‘Olivia’, in English/Australian) as a commercially available download for a computer – it cost me 15 euros. In the intro section (the ‘induction’) the voice talks about itself and touches on this. There is ‘no-one there’, no human intention behind the utterances – all this stuff that’s being ‘said’ has actually never really been spoken by anyone, only assembled algorithmically from many other recordings made with that child (which are then sliced up into different phonetic utterances). There’s something quite worrying about this tool that can be made to speak things which have absolutely nothing to do with being a child, that the voice is being literally instrumentalised. At the point of arrival, you type words (“describe your own voice in two words”) into a box and hear them spoken back to you by the same child voice immediately.
• The video shows the piece in Philadelphia – where we did runs of 6 hours, so about 180 people per night – and the situation there was interesting – a big old theatre right in the centre, with union laws meaning we couldn’t do things like move stuff from the back wall without the festival having to pay thousands of $ for a whole bunch of guys to come in and do it for us. So the paper backdrop on the back wall ended up being pretty ragged! In a way the falling-apart look goes well with the piece, but it’s not usually that messed up.
• The video at the end (59.11) no longer exists. Despite being fascinating and very disturbing, I found it stamped too much of an interpretive gloss onto the experience so I cut it.
CUE CHINA >
Some writing about it all on my site here
And here’s the full documentation
password is jia