Its biggest conundrum

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.

Source: Agent Cooper in Twin Peaks is the audience: once delighted, now disintegrating | The Verge

‘what they see and what they skip’

“In an immersive theatre production, the audience in some way plays a role, whether that is the role of witness or the role of an actual character. They may be allowed to roam and explore the performance space as the performance happens around them, allowing them to decide what they see and what they skip.”

via The Space » What is Immersive Theatre?.

This description highlights, for me, one of the central tensions that exists between the way we often talk about immersive theatre and the way it is actually experienced. In many cases (possibly most cases) an audience member does not decide “what they see or what they skip” because they do not  have access to sufficient information to be able to make that choice. Certainly this is the case for many first-time visitors to an immersive theatre production such as Sleep No More. In other cases an audience member may have the information about the full range of choices but lack the ability or opportunity to access them for reasons that are outside of their control.

“Who has agency?”

“If people move beyond simple tasks into more complex tasks that require a greater investment of time and learning, then issues of agency – participants’ ability to make choices about what they’re working on and why – start to become more important. Would Wikipedia have succeeded if it dictated what contributors had to write about? We shouldn’t mistake volunteers for a workforce just because they can be impressively dedicated contributors.”

via Sharing is caring keynote ‘Enriching cultural heritage collections through a Participatory Commons’ – Open Objects.