Running A Little Late
What are the strangest excuses you’ve made up for showing up late? Don’t worry, the artist promises she’ll be on stage in time.
produced by: Yuting Zhu, in collaboration with Gracia Zhao (music composer)
Running A Little Late is a site-specific short performance playing twists and turns with the perception of “liveness” and “witnessing” in response to the emergence of digital theatre during 2020. In a room of three panoramic projection walls, the audience follows the artist/character's dubious live stream of her journey from the train station to the theatre stage as she is "late for her performance" - one which quickly unfolds itself into comically artificial urban realities. Live stream video footage and AI re-envisioned hidden layers of the streets of New Cross are interwoven into a mixed reality montage.
Concept and background research
Following my consistent research interest for the past academic year in mixed reality performances, this project is created as a speculative response to the emergence of the new digital, remote, virtual theatre experience during 2020. When it has become an established common sense that everything one sees and hears can be (or already has been) processed in pixels or signals, how does the audience recognize "liveness" anymore? As digital technologies are ever more heavily involved and thus the audience more often experiences a performance than merely sees, does "witnessing" still account for authenticity? Most importantly, if the physical presence of the actor/audience under the same roof is no longer essential, how can I further extend and mix-match the enclosed theatre space with the outside world we interact with on a daily basis?
Works by Blast Theory and Rimini Protokoll have been a major source of inspiration for me to process these questions. Both art groups experimented with a mixed reality approach in creating outdoor theatre/games. Their site-specific performances have exhibited the chemical reaction between the real and virtual perspectives on the everyday urban streets. Can You See Me Now?(2003) asks its audience to play hide-and-seek on a digital GPS interface while their targets (performers) are out of their sight, running in real city lanes. Remote X(2013) observes how joint decisions are made when a group of people is guided through the city by synthetic voices and unknowingly performing a collective film on top of everyday commute routes. I am drawn to the way their works create mixed reality experiences not by inventing something completely virtual and entail the audience suspending their disbelief, but by re-rendering our ways of seeing of everything that has already been familiar.
The live sections of the production can potentially benefit from more interaction between the audience and the performer. For example, the audience could guide the performer to look for something in a certain corner of the street only they know of. I look forward to develop this performance with more of a participatory and playable aspect in the future.
1. Auslander, Philip. Liveness: Performance in a mediatized culture. Routledge, 2008.
2. Benford, Steve, and Gabriella Giannachi. Performing mixed reality. Mit Press, 2011.
3. Can You See Me Now? (2003), Blast Theory: https://www.blasttheory.co.uk/projects/can-you-see-me-now/
4. Remote X (2013), Rimini Protokoll: https://www.rimini-protokoll.de/website/en/project/remote-x
1. ofxSyphon: https://github.com/astellato/ofxSyphon
2. ofxNDI: https://github.com/nariakiiwatani/ofxNDI
3. ofBook, ofxiOS - Media Playback and Capture: https://openframeworks.cc/ofBook/chapters/ios.html#mediaplaybackandcapture:
4. Tim Rodenbröker, "Rasterize 3D (Processing Tutorial)": https://timrodenbroeker.de/rasterize3d/