In 2020, we created a proof-of-concept film to examine how our developing work Rest, originally conceived as an in-person music-theatre performance or time-based installation, might have an expression in a digital medium such as a screen-based or headphone-based experience for participants at home.
This proof-of-concept was created collaboratively with concept and direction by Annie Saunders, composition by Emma O'Halloran, visual concept creation, direction of photography and editing by Andrew Schneider, music direction by Christopher Rountree, dramaturgy by Adah Parris, Rita Williams, and Rachel Joy Victor, and creative consultation from Jackie Zhou, Mike Merchant, James Okumura and Brian Hashimoto, as well as over twenty thinkers and experts who were interviewed about sensory experience and the nature of consciousness. The music is played by members of Wild Up, Jiji, Jodie Landau, Allen Fogle, and Archie Carey, with mixing by Lewis Pesacov.
This piece was inspired by our research on the concept of rest, which revealed the profundity and magic of what we notice when we are able to pause: the play of light behind our eyelids, a patch of daylight moving across a wall, or colored lights of the city reflected in window panes. As a part of our dramaturgical research about what rest means in the modern world, we also conducted a series of interviews. Many conversations veered into discussions of managing relationships with screen technologies. We wondered if there was a way to make a meaningful experience informed by our research, perhaps interactive, perhaps not, perhaps including visuals, perhaps not, for audience members at home, on a device, either with a screen or audio-only.
The result is an audio-led experience with intermittent visuals. These visuals are light sculptures: made solely of real light and real shadow in a real room, without any computer-generated imagery, and filmed in real time. We may continue to develop this work into an interactive film for two participants at a time on separate devices, or a solo experience for one audience member at home. In a different time, when we are together in person, what we are sharing here online might be called a work-in-progress showing or an open studio; an opportunity to share material with the public as we continue to explore the work and how it wants to be in the world. We hope that this at-home experience might give you a similar glimpse of where our process is now.
This seven-minute work is made to be experienced from start to finish. The audio has been designed specifically for headphones, and we recommend playing the video at the full screen setting, in a darkened space. Perhaps contrary to day-to-day online experience, we ask for your full attention. Thank you for being here.