Last week we tested our reworked approach to PSO with a small audience in the Emily Davies studio at Aberystwyth University. Massive thanks to Louise and the team at TFTS, and our workshop participants Emily and Susan.
The new system is definitely an improvement. MOON have stripped down the web app and its now a much more robust, satisfying interface. And its completely flexible – able to respond to the situation. Basically, we use it for collecting stories from the audience – who can then vote for their favourite stories – which are the ones we processed into dance. At regular intervals, we can send a vote of up to 6 different parameters, with single words and/or images. This enabled the choreographic system to be flexible. Tanja talked to the participants throughout, sometimes asking the dancers to explain their process of a particular story, sometimes generating a vote to involve the audience in deciding how we should develop the movement and environment.
Feedback was generally positive, and there was some constructive criticism. We all felt that the level of audience engagement stayed on a similar depth throughout, and that the structure was repetitive and resulted in the overall experience being a bit flat. Introduction of environmental elements – sound, lighting and video – was a bit random, with me creating some bits and offering them up, and only sometimes asking for audience opinion. We need to create a clear journey for the use of environmental elements. It was fun to be searching online for images, video and sound that illustrated the audience’s stories, but this made some people doubt that we were improvising, and had planted some stories that we had already worked on.
I’m looking forward to the debrief and planning meeting next week, and trying the system out with a completely different audience at the Digital Innovations conference at WMC.