On reflection, I think we tried to do too much in the first public test event, and created what Rob Ashelford has described as ‘a brilliant spectacular failure’ – we couldn’t have tested our ideas properly without a large number of people in a venue, yet doing so exposed the project at a fragile point of its development.
Today’s meeting brought together TaikaBox, Moon, Rob from Nesta and Hamish Fyfe – who is our main research partner in the project.
As well as looking at our collaborative practice methods, we forged ahead with developing the idea by re-prioritising the research question and focussing on the audience experience rather than the innovative use of technology.
Aiming for our next test event at Aberystwyth University on 27th June, we are currently planning a new structure for the experience, aiming to re-introduce the human connection that was intrinsic to our earlier test events, but missing from the Sherman ‘performance’. Rather than try to create a piece of dance with the influence of the audience, our new focus is to explore choreographic processes in collaboration with the audience, with the aim of demystifying contemporary dance by enabling members of the public to play with how the choreography develops on a much smaller scale, helping the dancers by choosing different tasks and performance environments.
The technology system is simplified, providing audience feedback to questions asked by TaikaBox as they work through a sequence of stories, and exists to solve communication problems, rather than to replace the process of simply <em>talking</em> to people. This should give us the flexibility to really engage with stories on an emotional level, with the added bonus of being less likely to go wrong – and be less devastating if it does.
Next step – getting into the studio and working through this in detail.