A mechanically modified car. People engage with it by pressing some buttons on the outside of the car and stuff happens like some fumes come out or a film plays on the headlights. Then maybe there is a day time version of the performance and a night time. During day time at some point some performers start dancing inside the car and then move to dancing outside and around it. The car’s stereo system is the sound system. A night time version could be the same dancing with the car’s headlights serving as lighting for the performance. Or it could be something simpler like leaving the car parked somewhere over night, with the inside car light on, and with giant sunflowers inside, so it turns into an art installation that people look in on…
Things I like about it
- Quite like the mechanical nature of it and the DIY aspect of the mechanical features that it might have, and the effect that it will have on people to play with those features.
- Very physical in both a mechanical sense and a performance sense because there will be live performers.
- Like that we would be using the car as a mini-stage: using the car’s sound and lighting features instead of stage lighting and stage sound.
Problems with original concept that need consideration
- All this dancing in and around the car could be a bit like ‘Fame’ and I wouldn’t want to do it like that.
- Do we actually need live performers/dancers? Or is the ‘performance’ about the audience interacting with the mechanics of the car enough?
- Am I using the car as an installation piece, or am I drawing on audience’s knowledge of ‘Herbie’ and playing with that knowledge?
- How many modifications can we make to the car and it still be road-driven? The last thing I want to do is to create a car piece that then needs to be transported in a van…
- Budget: expensive to create and potentially expensive to tour if it involves live performers.
But just then when I was trying to go to sleep a second concept began to emerge, and it has to do with the choreography and smart phones research I have been doing. I have sent you both links to the thing I did in Bournemouth haven’t I? If not do say and I re-send.
But most recently the idea developed further as Ian Bowden (Art Director for Rockstar Leeds, a multinational computer games company that created games such as LA Noire and Grand Theft Auto: http://www.rockstargames.com/) has come on board. Ian and I are talking about developing the research beyond film and into graphics and augmented reality. What this means is two things:
- We can have a mixture of media with film which then goes into fantasy and animation graphics. See an example here: http://vimeo.com/5716181.
- And/or we can have a film of a performer doing something and have the audience member actually choosing from which point of view they view them. Ian is preparing a quick example and I will send it you soon.
How is it experienced by the audience?
As an audience member you use you smart phone to scan a QR code that is found on the outside of the car. The QR code then takes you to an app which you download.
You realise that the first frame of the film matches a particular perspective on the car and instructions appear on the screen asking you to pointing your phone at that perspective and aligning the first frame of the film with it.
The instructions also explain that you are about to start a journey where the only rule is that you must always align the reality of the environment that you see in front of you to the exact image and perspective of that reality in the film, and that you must mimic the actions of the hand in the film with your own hand.
You press play and the film starts moving towards another perspective on the car. You realise that for you to fulfil the rule (aligning reality to the film) you too need to shift with it. Very quickly you realise that the filmmaker went through a journey around the car and that your task of overlapping the ‘real car’ and the ‘virtual filmed car’ means that you are going to be taken on that same journey in a way that you will need to position your body in the same relationship to the car that the filmmaker had hers.
For an example click here and here!
What is the new concept?
- As an audience member you continue to align the film with the reality of the car and are taken to different parts of it.
- At one point maybe the phone points at the windows and through your phone you view some performers inside doing a dance, whereas in real life they are not there.
- At another point maybe the phone points at the whole car and you see it (though the phone) turning into an animation of a car, so that maybe it has eyes instead of headlights and it smiles at you, like a cartoon.
- Or maybe you actually open the door of the car (in real life) and sit in the car (in real life) and point your phone at the front windows. And then you see the car driving somewhere. And maybe we can still use mechanics to get the car to shake a little so you feel like you are driving somewhere… Like those kids’ cars outside Tesco that you put a coin in… Humm, or maybe that is a stupid idea…
- Or maybe you point the phone at the whole car and it falls apart and it reconstructs itself. This could easily be done by taking the car apart and then using stop animation to put it back together.
What I like about it
- Potentially cheaper to make (very few or no mechanical changes needed because we can do most of those through graphics).
- Cheaper to tour because if the performers are on the film all we need is for one person to tour with it to install it and maybe help the audience to access it.
- Love the potential for creating amazing imaginary things that can’t be done in reality: the car could fly, it could talk, you could sit in it with a virtual dancer in the passenger seat… Pretty much what we could imagine we could create…
Potential problems with concept 2
- Is this mobile phone technology available throughout Europe as it is in the UK? The last thing I want to do is create a piece that Intercult will then take on tour to small villages in Europe and people there not being able to see it.
- In terms of the mobile phone devices maybe this could be overcome by us having our own devices and lending them to people, although of course this will be a street piece and we might not get them back…
- In terms of wireless access this could also be a problem. But Ian has suggested that instead of developing a film that you need to download (like we did in Bournemouth) we can develop an app instead. This means that you get the app from your phone and you are not relying on wireless access to play it, so we can have it working on remote areas. Not completely sure how it works technically but he is sure of it…
- No live, ‘real’ physicality. But maybe that is not a problem if we use the physicality of the people watching it.
- And although the possibilities are many but, like with concept 1, if we went with this one I would really appreciate your help Ivana in helping find a dramaturgy for the concept, as at the moment it is just a mix of different ideas:
- Are we playing on the audience’s pre-knowledge of Disney’s Herbie?
- Or is it about choreographing the audience in relation to the car?
- Or is it about them watching performers doing a performance around/inside the car?
- Or a combination?