“It’s easy to maintain emotional distance from ‘characters in a play,’ especially when those characters are barely characters at all, more suggestion than articulation. It is much more difficult to maintain that same distance with someone from the audience who could have been you, or is you, appearing onstage unexpectedly, doing their best without any preparation. This immediacy, the charm of the unexpected performer, generates a flash of internal empathy that is stoked from glow to flame, and suddenly, a show that had previously felt somewhat feeling-averse is abruptly infused with something approaching joy.”
Really interesting, persuasive article tracing the trajectory of Cooper-as-the-audience throughout the series so far.
1990s Cooper was an active force in his own story. He helped us navigate his surroundings, and see them with humor and wonder. He claimed, perhaps wrongly, but still convincingly, that there was order somewhere in the chaos. It’s natural for us to want to return to a mode where he can actively participate in his own story, where he’s helping solve its mysteries, instead of acting as its biggest conundrum. But even with his humanity lost and his agency gone, he still represents us onscreen. Even when he’s free-floating through a haze of glass boxes and stop-motion nightmares, we’re still with him. We’re still all Agent Cooper, navigating the mystery, and waiting to see where this is all going.
As grand an idea as it once seemed, the delivery of a truly meaningful impact from our choices still mostly feels like an unrealized dream.
This article caught my eye. I’m sure it had a tag-line along the lines of ‘your choices in games don’t matter’ when I saw it; I was incensed, certain I was going to read this article and disagree with its argument on the basis that it had misunderstood / overlooked that the story you tell in a game is not only about the narrative action that unfolds within the gameworld but also the impact of your choices on your broader experience which, in turn, may twist or shape how you then interpret the action of the game.
Turns out the article, in some ways, reaches a similar conclusion. It’s an interesting read (though I skipped much of it towards the end because I wanted to avoid the Prey spoilers – just in case).
A highlight of the 2016 Festival of Live Art:
Blurring documentary with fantastical fiction, Vanitas is a smartphone procedural thriller told through the secret language of flowers.
The app: iTunes
The Facebook: Event page
‘What happens when you remove the typical social contract of the theatre seat? We invited the audience to walk in our oppressive world and they wanted to change it. The audience’s acts of touching and speaking, grabbing and yelling were both revelatory and deeply disturbing. Were they assholes or heroes?’
‘I’m beginning to suspect that the reason SNM is so successful may be less that the experience is immersive but the fact that it is complex, compelling, and difficult to understand or complete alone. With 17 hours of content, of which only three can be experienced in a single performance, and more than 90 different rooms in which the action takes place, SNM is a social experience because it needs to be; because the performance cannot make sense without the offered experiences of other people. The story is necessarily incomplete without the pieces that other people can share.’
‘The element of choice also allows for a variety of experiences. The artist mentions that “Two people who go to one of our events can go home and they’ll both have a very different experience. One of them could go ‘Did you see that room with the piano and the glitter cannons?’ In response someone else could go ‘What are you talking about? I was in a cab ride with a horse!’ It’s not about passively sitting there as an audience sitting there and watching what is being presented for us.
“You have to seek things out if you want to and depending on the time, where you are and how much you seek, you’re experience will be completely different to everyone else.”’