Archive for November 3rd, 2010
THE MEMORY DEALER
Start date: July 2010
Funding: Towards Pervasive Media, Nottingham University
Watch the trailer:
Synopsis of Second Iteration, (Sept. 11th 2010):
The story begins with the audience/players listening to an mp3 file as they meander where ever they like through the city. The voice and music are relaxing and somewhat hypnotic and they are encouraged to see the city anew and to explore their own memories of the places they pass through. They are told they are waiting to meet Eve, an engaging but unreliable friend with whom they have lost contact. They are told how they met and how they fell out. After a while the mood of the soundtrack becomes darker, they have wandered into an area frequented by memory dealers and those who have become addicted to their wares.
They receive a ‘call’ from Eve who tells them she has been arrested under trumped up charges. If they can find a memory dealer they will be able to experience what she did at the time of crime and prove her innocence. They are told to return to the Broadway bar, fins a memory dealer and be discrete.
They can only approach the dealer one at a time. While they wait they might notice that the radio show playing is a talk show dedicated to the subject of memory dealers. The show features a spokeswoman for the handset manufacturers who have developed handsets that can collect and store memories. They are pressing the Government to legalise memory aggregation. They wish to catalogue memories on search engines. Eve calls the show and defends a banned organisation called the XM who want to subvert the aggregation of memories by encouraging the sharing of memories.
The memory dealer is rude and surly. She gives each person a device that plays a sound file. She tells them to wait for Eve to appear, to only press play when she does and to follow her.
The audience/players follow Eve as she lives out the events of yesterday. They hear her memories on the soundtrack and discover that the reason she was an unreliable friend is because she was a founder of the XM. In a mixture pre-recorded and live performance they discover that the XM HQ has been evacuated and a police raid is imminent. Against all protocols she must remove a stash of memories from a safe house. She is hugely unsettled by these events. Finally she runs into a shop and runs out holding a bag. She runs back to the Broadway.
SPOILER ALERT. If you want to come on a future production of the Memory Dealer and don’t want to know how it ends. Stop reading now.
The audience/players return to the Broadway bar where a huge video is projected. Eve is in a police interview room. A detective is gloating over how easy it was to break her spirit and get her to hand over the names of the XM hierarchy. A dossier is brought in. Eve is told she can go. As she passes the camera she whispers a plea for forgiveness. She couldn’t hand in the XM. Run!
The detective reads out the names of the people to be arrested – they are the names of the audience/players. We then see the photos in the file. A secretly taken photo of every member of the audience.
The Detective enters the bar and shouts, “Right. Nobody leave the room.”
This drama is part of a research project into whether pervasive drama can be as emotionally engaging as drama that is shown on cinema or TV screens. When we are in a cinema we are free to emotionally engage as others cannot see our responses in the dark. We feel similarly safe to emotionally engage when we watch TV in our living rooms. The central research question, to be explored through making and performing a piece of pervasive drama then gathering responses from our audiences, is can creators of pervasive media expect high levels of emotional engagement from their audiences? Does the process of absorbing media in public places and in unusual ways reduce empathy and submission to emotive storytelling? Would an audience for a pervasive version of “Love Story” cry as much as a cinema audience might?
Research is being undertaken by Dr Elizabeth Evans, Lecturer in Film and Television Studies, Department of Culture, Media and Film, University of Nottingham.
The writing of pervasive drama is an iterative process. One needs to write and test, write and test. Rik Lander already has plans for the next iteration based on audience feedback from the second iteration.
1 x downloaded mp3 audio file played on audience/players own mp3 player.
1 x mp3 file provided on a player by a ‘memory dealer’.
1 x radio transmission played over the PA in the Broadway bar.
1 x video projected in Broadway bar.
1 x hidden camera – still images integrated into video.
Cast for second iteration, September 11th 2010:
Eve: Sylvia Robson
Memory Dealer: Lu Capewell
Detective Constable: Jonathan Greaves
Radio announcer: Cara Nolan
Host: Elizabeth Evans
Narrator: Rik Lander
With many thanks to the staff at the Broadway Media Centre.
Photographs by Bernard Zieja
Across the country, people are worrying about their high street. Shops have closed, sites bought for regeneration sit empty while recession-shy developers wait for the right time, and people spend more timeat out-of-town retail parks or buying online.
But these empty spaces in town centres are still useful. They’re perfect places for short, temporary projects that embrace the meanwhile – the time between the last commercial activity and whatever comes next.
And a nation of meanwhile shopkeepers have been learning the skills to use these spaces, to be nimble and grab every opportunity while they can.