In this post, I’ll be sharing the process of the final project, research and the evolution from the first idea to the final project.
VERY FIRST Idea
We started with the mutual mindset that we wanted to create something uncomfortable for the audience. Also, we wanted to focus on creating a performance art.
We came up with the idea of creating a physical space where participants will have to react to the surroundings and their reaction will garner another reaction from the actor in that same space.
The participant enters a room decorated with everyday items; tables, chairs, books, papers, etc. The room begins in a slight state of chaos with a chair overturned and books on the floor. Participants enter the room and are given 2 options: 1) Tear the room apart 2) Put the things back in place. The actor in the room reacts to the decision they make, going berserk when they choose the second option and being calm when they choose the first.
As someone new comes along, they will build on what the previous participant had done. Hence, being a form of DIWO.
After coming up with the idea, we started thinking about locations. Since we intended to create a “room” we needed to have an actual space. Thus, we decided on East Coast Park, because we can book an area (like a tentage) to set up.
However, after consultation, we realized that our idea was not site-specific. Basically, there wasn’t any particular reason why it had to be ECP, the “artwork” can happen anywhere.
Taking the feedback into consideration, we began doing some research.
We found that ECP’s Yellow Tower was known for being notoriously haunted by a ghost of a girl who was murdered there. Read here if you would like to know more.
Thus, we decided to center our “room” based on the Yellow Tower Ghost. The actor in the room acting as the Yellow Tower Ghost. We began to incorporate paranormal elements into the artwork.
Replacing the items in the room with paint instead. Where red paint represents death and killing for the ghost, and white paint represents exorcism/cleansing of the ghost.
We incorporated third space by having two participants, one located in the “room” and the other located at the Yellow Tower. The third space is created by having the two communicate with each other through a walkie-talkie or phone call. The person at the Yellow Tower does not have any clue on how the “room”
looks like but have to give instructions to the other player on what they should do.
During consultation, Lei brought up that there wasn’t a strong enough reason to have that extra player at the Yellow Tower. Meaning, the third space element was not exactly well thought out.
Decisions had to be made.
Should we change our entire idea? or Should we change certain aspects?
We had a mutual agreement that our idea was overly complicated. Therefore, we decided to change it completely.
However, not wanting to start from scratch, we kept the idea of having a paranormal theme.
During our discussion, we found that Haw Par Villa was the most suitable location as it embodies Singapore’s paranormal scene the best.
Why Haw Par Villa?
Haw Par Villa is notorious for being haunted. Legend says that Haw Par Villa is where lies one of the gates of hell and that the statues are actually dead humans covered with wax. Furthermore, Haw Par Villa is rich with Chinese culture and features an area called the “Ten Courts of Hell” that depicts what it is like to be in hell.
Hole in Space (1980)
An inspiration for our third space element is the Hole in Space (1980) by Sherry Rabinowitz & Kit Galloway. This artwork brought people from the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City, and “The Broadway” department store located in the open air Shopping Center in Century City, Los Angeles. Passers-by are greeted with a life-size live televised broadcast of people from the other side of America. They were also able to communicate and have a chat with each other.
Blast Theory: Can You See Me Now? (2001)
One of the first location-based games, online players have to run around trying to escape the Blast Theory’s runners who are trying to catch them. This Blast Theory Runner’s are running around the streets and they are being tracked by satellites. Both of their locations on the map are made aware to both players.
We were inspired by the use of 2 different players; a virtual player and a real player. In the case of “Can You See Me Now?” the players are competing against each other. We thought instead, why not make the players work together instead. Thus, the idea of a cooperative virtual and real player came about.