PA2013 INTERVIEW #3

SHADOW  PLAYS

Lucia Lie worked with Ana McGowan on the spell-binding 'Antibodies' series of works in The Performance Arcade 2011 and 2012.

Lucia Lie worked with Ana McGowan on the spell-binding ‘Antibodies’ series of works in The Performance Arcade 2011 and 2012.

Hannah McDougall talks with designers/performers Lucia Lie & Nikko Hull about MEA CULPA: their ‘interactive oracle’ installation  featured in the Performance Arcade 2013.

How did your collaboration come about?

NH: Lucia has created work in The Performance Arcade for three years. I helped out last year as a performer, and when it was done I said “can I help out more next year?”  Now we are designing it together. The first year I got to see the work as a completed installation and now I’m actually involved in the making, which is really cool.

What are you presenting over the Arcade?

LL: Well it has changed a lot. It started off with a lot of digital projection, shadow puppetry, playing with the two together, and the interaction with the audience, so you can’t tell what is real and what wasn’t.

NH: Yeah, like interactive digital stuff! And we were like, we could do it, but digital stuff has the potential to fail, because electronic stuff is always unreliable. So we’ve tried to simplify it as much as possible, and now it’s more analogue, old OHP projectors with pure shadows, rather than projection.

How does the audience engage with the work?

NH: It’s in two parts. One is a sort of theatre piece, and you get to watch this shadow performance. Separate to that, and hidden from the shadow piece, is the interactive aspect.

LL: People are invited to come in one at a time to interact with a machine we are creating. They will be asked a question, and well, they have to answer it! And then that effects what is happening in other places. It’s all connected.

NH: Both parts affect each other, and part of it is working out how your actions [as audience] are going to affect everything.

So it’s a very live, and probably quite an enduring experience. And you might not be able to predict everything that may come about?

NH: Yeah, and that’s kind of cool because we have been aiming for that from the start. Everything is controlled to an extent, but there has been room left open where you don’t quite know what’s going to happen. Most of the time it’s really exciting things, where you get to take stories away from the experience that you have.

LL: Unexpected things will happen, and you have to react, no matter what.

NH: Especially where it is! The Performance Arcade, on the waterfront. You get the kids at 12pm…

LL: People sitting around for 3 hours!!

NH: Yeah the art connoisseurs, pondering the meaning of the work. And then you get the drunk people, at ten at night. You have got to be prepared for all types.

LL: We’ve tried to make it fool proof. But you never know!

Mea Culpa is open from the 14th – 17th of February between 10 am- 11pm as a container work in The Performance Arcade 2013 on Wellington’s Waterfront.

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