Gabbie Bautista

Final Reflection

Mar 14, 2011 by Gabbie

For the final performance, Wesley and I chose to expand on our Witness study. The main differences between the Witness study and the final performance were more technological and preparatory improvements as opposed to a change in the physical performance.

Taking in some suggestions from the review of our witness study, Wesley and I revamped the projection of the dancing videos and Google Voice notices. We flashed the phrase “get ready to text” as an introductory hint or instruction for the audience. Also to make it easier for the audience to text other members of the audience we worked with Lauren to set up a processing sketch that would display a person’s phone number on the screen after he/she texted Wesley or me. The processing sketch was linked to a twitter account that was set up so an assistant could relay the phone numbers from the Google Voice notifications to the screen in a larger and clearer format. Aside from having an assistant entering in numbers from the audience, we also asked members of the class to text each other and other audience members to participate. For the final we also decided to reduce the size of the grid to 3 by 3, for a total of 9 boxes labeled 1-9 to make it easier for people to understand and text. The smaller size of the grid also added more opportunity for close encounters when two or more people were sent to on box. We also added the option of ejecting a player. A few times during the performance, the instruction ” text X to eject a player” flashed on the screen. The intention was for that player to go to an adjacent box labeled “X” that was isolated from the large grid but still within view of the audience and those on the dancing grid. The addition of the “X” box attempted to exaggerate the theme of inclusion by addressing exclusion. For this performance, we decided to eliminate the levels and heights that were unsuccessfully communicated in the witness study. Instead, each “player” danced in any manner they pleased in all of the boxes. Another major change was that Wesley and I waited until the audience texted us direction as opposed to texting each other first to show the audience what to do.

With a larger audience, the performance was still very successful. Aside from minor issues like the malfunction of the processing sketch and losing control of my phone, the performance progressed well. With the help of Lauren, Emily, and everyone in our class, the audience’s participation and interest was high. The audience participation and response was amazing! The build up and the idea of inclusion were amplified by the larger audience in comparison to the witness study in class. The audience’s desire to participate was high, but this is partially due to the fact that most people in the audience not only knew each other, but also knew Wesley and me. This relationship made people more comfortable to text each other and also made it easier to text each other because the audience already had the phone numbers of other members in the audience. Toward the end of the performance, Wesley and I instructed the members of our class to text everyone to go to box 5. We wanted to create a point of desire and experiment with how people reacted to being forced into one area and play on the draw and attraction of box 5 as more and more people traveled there. Although many people participated and understood the context of the performance, there were a couple of people who admitted, post-performance, that they did not understand what was going on. They were confused about the relationship between what was projected and the movements of the “players.”

One thing that could have drastically affected the interactions of the grid was the participation of faculty. I was hoping that for this performance, more professors and adults would be present. I was interested in the dynamic of student and teacher, and if the adults would feel comfortable breaking that barrier. I wanted to see how students and teachers would react when sent to one grid and forced to dance in such close proximity. However, even without this added level of interaction, I was very satisfied with the outcome of the final performance and pleased with the positive feedback.

Witness Reflection

Mar 14, 2011 by Gabbie

For the witness study, Wesley and I collaborated to create a dancing game that was controlled via text message. The performance was intended to push the audience’s willingness and desire to not only control the participation and movement of Wesley and me, but also everyone else in the audience. The study attempted to address the topics of inclusion and reliance on technology as a social buffer.

In preparation for the performance, Wesley and I created a video to entice the audience to “control” us and to give the audience a hint as to how the performance would work. Throughout the performance individual videos of Wesley and I dancing played above our individual Google Voice notifications, which showed all of our text messages. While the video was projected on the wall, Wesley and I stood in front of it on a 3 by 4 grid labeled by rows and columns. To start the performance, we played the video then began texting each other specific boxes or locations to dance in. As the audience caught on and texted us more directions, we texted the audience back in hopes that they would join us on the grid.

The feedback from the audience was very positive. They commented on the hotline aspect of the projection which not only fit the study, but was very effective and encouraging in terms of getting their attention and participation. In general, people said the performance was very inviting and worked well in terms of inducing interest and excitement. The audience was very eager and excited to get on the grid and start dancing. Although the performance was inviting, there was some confusion and technical difficulty with the set up. The way in which we labeled the grid, with coordinates of one letter and one number, was not clearly displayed and also difficult to text because people had to switch between the alphabet and  numbers. Someone suggested figuring out a system such that there would be more instances with two or more people in one box, which I also think will be very interesting as a study in interaction and intimacy. Another suggestion was to include an option to eject a player, which would add another point of decision making for the audience. And, even though the projection instantly drew the audience’s attention, someone suggested pushing the flashiness even more.

Agit-Prop reflection

Feb 26, 2011 by Gabbie

For the agit-prop performance I wanted to address the situations in which people find themselves at a loss for how to respond to something offensive that they just heard or overheard. More specifically, I focused on instances where women hear something offensive or sexist but do not know how to or if they should respond and react. My intention was to call attention to this hesitation that people feel in such a situation, and address the need for an outlet or proper response. I was inspired by stories my roommates and I have shared over the past few weeks about our frustration after overhearing conversations but not feeling comfortable enough or confident enough to respond.

I tried to address the lack of a successful precedent or means of response by satirizing the fact that one of the only options for responding is ranting online, with YouTube. For the performance I prepared some topics and points to rant about and then did a live video blog/rant. I talked about the frustrations of sexist comments I have heard myself or stories I have heard from friends. From that I also began talking about sexism today and how it still exists culturally despite various laws demanding equality for men and women. I set the performance up so that I would be talking into my computer, facing the audience, while a large screen displayed what was on my computer screen, also facing the audience. Although the audience could see me, they could also see how the video would appear online via the screen. Throughout the performance I put on a YouTube/valley girl persona to comment on the failures of using an exaggerated and lighthearted personality to express a serious topic.

The performance was successful in terms of clearly identifying the topic I was inspired by, feminism, and the issue I wanted to address, the need for an appropriate and expressive form of response.  Although my intention was clear, the delivery could have been pushed even further. Someone suggested that I take the YouTube persona even further and imitate videobloggers even more to enhance the satirical aspect of the performance. In general, the audience was more interested in what was on the screen as opposed to the live ranting I did right in front of them. This is an important hierarchy to consider, but I am still not sure if this  adds or detracts from my intention, or how I can make it more of an advantage and intention.

texting

Jan 13, 2011 by Gabbie

texting