Please Switch On Your Mobile Phones started out as a research project running throughout 2014, commissioned by the first round of the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts in Wales – Supported by Nesta, the Arts & Humanities Research Council and with public funding by the National Lottery through the Arts Council of Wales

It was a collaboration between TaikaBox and digital studio MOON that aimed to develop new tools that help people to engage with contemporary dance performances.

The project resulted in the creation of a digital/choreographic system that enables audience members to become co-creators in a performance, democratically sharing the creative process.

So far, PSO events have taken place in Cardiff, Llanelli, Aberystwyth, Helsinki, Zug, Vilnius, Hammerfest and Oulu.

PSO in Zug – 2016 – Photo: Christoph Schumacher

Imagine arriving at the theatre to see a show. Normally you would be asked to turn off your mobile phone and sit quietly in the dark, watching the end results of someone else’s creative process.

Tonight, though, is different:- Projected onto the back wall is a call to action displaying a web address engaging everyone in the audience to individually access a simple web application on their mobile devices. Whilst waiting for the performance to begin you are encouraged to share a personal experience. As you type out your story, the wall starts to fill up with different people’s words.

You can vote on which stories you like best, and the overall favourite is taken by the team of dancers, choreographer and artist and processed into movement. The audience are consulted on ways in which to develop the movement into a choreographic sequence, what the soundtrack and lighting should be, and when to move on to the next story.

Each time the experiment takes place, it will be unique, and people will be able to see how their stories have become dance.

Our aims are to develop ways of demystifying contemporary dance, engaging with an audience and dismantling the time & space limitations of performing in a theatre. By creating new digital tools, we will enable the audience to contribute to a performance, becoming joint authors of the work and witnessing how their contributions are choreographically processed. We believe that by making the work relevant to an audience, we can work towards breaking down the barriers that often exist between an artist and the general public, the traditional hierarchy that dictates that the audience are passive witnesses of the director’s vision.

PSO in Vilnius – 2017 – Photo: Dainius Pu

As an ongoing project we are collecting your stories via Twitter and turning them into small dance films. Send us a story about anything and we’ll send you a unique dance film. We also provide PSO films for conferences and events. During Kiertoliike 2015 – the Finnish dance industry conference in Helsinki, TaikaBox made PSO films to illustrate the panel discussions. The PSO film project can also be delivered as a workshop.


the latest PSO short films hosted on Instagram.

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