TALKING WITH ONESELF (OR SOMEONE ELSE)
The interactive performance installation “Talking with oneself (or someone else)” speaks about alienation, neurosis, and our need to communicate. It explores today’s role of technology as an alleged cause and consequence of the issues of loneliness, but also as a means to (controversially) solve those issues. The idea was to externalize the inner dialogues between different aspects of one’s personality, one’s different inner voices that often are the source of internal conflicts. It also considers ways of engaging in a dialogue with other people in an alternative space, people we actually don’t meet and maybe never will, thanks to technology.
The piece refers to existentialist literature and theatre of the absurd. Themes of oneself, loneliness, meaning of being—or even not being—absurd, and relativism merge with contemporary aesthetics of open work, noise, accumulation, superabundance of information and meanings, notions of chance, and questioning of authorship. Also, implicitly, it refers to themes of surveillance and privacy vs. public exposure, touching the edges of technological issues today.
Our intention was to intertwine technology and performance in a way that technology becomes a creative co-creator. The piece is conceived as interaction between a performer, a camera, and a projected self-generative video that, through computer vision and chance computing, composes itself. It is created an alternative space in which the live performance translates in endless possible variations.
A performer entered the stage multiple times, embodying different aspects of her personality, each of which was automatically recorded and released as a video projection. This way she could interact with different versions of herself as videos populated the screen. After her performance the algorithm continued to shuffle the recorded videos and randomly project them, creating endless combinations. The same way, willing audience members engaged and interacted with the installation, created their own performances and recorded videos.
It is a participatory and durational piece that allows an indeterminate number of performances and asks the audience to experience, to move in space, to relate to their bodies, voices, and their need to express themselves.
When no one interacted with the installation, technology completely took over and composed randomly infinite variations of the ‘scenes’ on the screen, creating every time different dialogues and meanings, captivating a spectator in a way similar to today’s experience of social media voyeurism.