“…because they are actually acting it in real life”

A conversation with Katie Day (founder and artistic director of The Other Way Works company) about her latest productions and why is important for her to work with new technology tools.

How do you see as a practitioner what is going to be the relationship of performing arts and data?

We are working more and more with the internet. I have to say when they came up with the idea for the HELLO CULTURE Conference’s prize [a conference about open data and artistic practice related to open data, where Katie Day pitched her project Chronotype, which is an application that helps people to be more aware about their chronotype, whether they are more of a morning person or evening person; Ed.], it took me quite a long time to think about a project that I could be interested in. Chronotype is not really theatre, it is a kind of a slightly performative application, you wear your badge and that creates new ways to start conversations with other people, but that is very a low level, it is not theatrical.

But you are also doing a more theatrical project, which makes use of technology.

Yes…we are making this theatre game Agent in the Box, and for that we are collaborating with John Sear. He is a software developer and game designer and now he makes collaborative games that happen in public spaces, for exp. Renga, played by a hundred people in a cinema set up with laser pointers. We decided to develop together a kind of spy-themed narrative game that is a one-to-one game. We use this phone system, with throw-away mobile phones. All you get are texts and calls through that. So it is a responsive system, driven by the computer and ideally it will be automated. The plan is to integrate the system in Twillio, which is a big VOIP provider, they provide phone systems for big companies. Behind that we need a whole framework too which is analyzing and sending responses in a certain time frame. The whole point is to tell a story where members of the audience can feel that they are active players, and that they can participate. It is fiction that is supposed to happen live as you are creating that exchange. I like to create that sense that the audience is important, even when there are no live performers present.

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