Jon Bernson -- co-creator, composer, co-design.
Megan May Daalder -- actor.
Kevin Doyle -- concept, writer, co-design.
WANTABLE will be a stationary, interdisciplinary performance co-created by multimedia artist Jon Bernson, playwright-director Kevin Doyle, with dramaturgy by Fannina Waubert de Puiseau, and in collaboration with actor-artist Megan May Daalder. It will depict three individuals who have lost touch with reality, frozen in an indecisive moment and suspended in time, as they agonize over what they should (or should not) post to their preferred social media platform. In WANTABLE each actor is housed (or encased) within an installation chamber, upon which digital content culled from their social media streams will be displayed and/or projected. This content responds to each character’s repetitious logic as their relentless and circular thoughts, ideas and options overwhelm them to the point of complete submersion and paralysis.
Combining elements of theatre, performance, video art, and computer science WANTABLE functions as a live-performance and installation-tableau that explores the relationship between our true selves and our curated lifestyles on social media. WANTABLE appropriates the mathematical algorithms used to create internet search engine results (or “news feeds”) and uses these formulas as the basis for a new dramatic structure. The video and sound design will be an integral part of the text, functioning like stage directions of a larger composition, scored like notes to merge with the musicality in each cyclical monologue. The structure for the written/spoken text, the video/sound design, and how they all interrelate will be based upon the actual structure of “link analysis” algorithms that websites employ to bombard us with targeted content; such as Facebook’s News Feed, suggestions on NetFlix and LinkedIn, or the results of a Google Search. Functioning as both installation and performance, WANTABLE will visualize these algorithms via performance and demonstrate their impact upon our psyche as these three individuals repeat and retread the same mental terrain in pursuit of an authentic human connection.
Support for initial research on WANTABLE has been provided by the Arc Artist Residency in Romainmôtier, Switzerland. Arc is an institution of the Migros Culture Percentage that attempts to “re-invent the residency” by connecting invited artists with leading experts in their field of research, while fostering collaborative exchange among resident artists. Additional support and guidance provided by Rasmus Rothe and Radu Timofte at the Computer Vision Laboratory at ETH-Zurich.