Iago is a work-in-progress, the first iteration of an algorithmic theatre instillation to be performed later this year.
The idea was to computationally amplify several conditions of a narrative experience for participants to interact with. They would face a screen displaying randomly ordered words drawn from Shakespeare’s Othello, and challenged to wear the attached headphones for a minute. If they could do this, they would win a treat. Obstructing them, would be the most horrific computational sound on full volume through the headphones. The only way participants could alleviate the sonic torture would be by enacting the randomly selected text on screen.
Participants would have an objective to achieve, a finite amount of time, something to say and a monstrous sonic villain hot on their eardrums. These conditions exemplify some elements of story, but would the experience mean anything to its participants or observers?
Unfortunately due to technical difficulties, sonic interaction was not impossible for this iteration - but will be next time. Currently, a human interacting with this piece can read the text and observe and respond to the volume levels of their audio input translated into a graphic visual output.
The next step is to code robust, sonic interaction to apply pressure and urgency on participants to act. I must also create a more sophisticated algorthim for selecting text than a random order of words. Perhaps participants’ actions in the moment affect the speed, order or choice of text in some way? Perhaps other elements of story can be hacked and amplified computationally?
The piece is a rough-and-ready prototype I believe has future potential.