time to post something about my performance projects that used physical computing. i aim to create interactive performances that come close to the idea of an open work: meaning an artistic work that is open to be manipulated by the audience receiving it, to be altered, and therefore partly or fully created by the viewer. also i am interested in creating emersive environments, in which form and content go hand in hand. so far i have realised three performance installations that used arduino, but in which i did not do the technical side of it but rather was directing the performance. the first one was back 2009 as my major piece of the first year of studying theatre directing: K.ONTROL.
K.ONTROL was based on franz kafka’s novel the trial and set up as a reactive performance installation. audience members did log into a computer system before entering the performance space and then were randomly chosen by the computer to control the actors. they would go to their control panels in front of the audience where they had a controller with four push buttons. by pushing those they would trigger the actors to perform certain patterns: monologue, movement pattern, scene, chorus. the idea was that the notion of power and control over others, the feeling of not being able to influence anything and enforced conformity – which is constantly present in the novel of kafka – would be expressed through the technical aspect of the performance; the computer instance as a metaphor for the LAW which can never be reached or talked to by the protagonist k., the random selection of people who would willingly support the system. you can find more info about the performance on the K.ONTROL website.
hardware-wise the setup was pretty simple… three controllers with four push buttons, wired to an arduino. coding was done in processing and outputting a video signal to a projector (opening and closing doors according to which button was pressed) as well as sounds (giving commands to the actors). hardware and programming was done in an incredibly short time period by amy and craig.