We are very excited to invite you to a work in progress showing by Boho Interactive, on Saturday 27th October at 12:00pm, at the CSIRO Discovery Centre Theatre in Acton.
Following several months of intensive research and script development, including visiting the Australian Animal Health Laboratories in Geelong, we are presenting a development showing of our project based on concepts from epidemiology, microbiology and antibiotic development.
Conceptually Transmissible Aphasia: Current understandings of pathogenesis and modern methods of control is a performance in the style of a scientific lecture with videoconferencing, that looks at the emergence of a novel disease agent. At this showing we will present a small suite of ideas that we are hoping to get your input on. This showing is the culmination of research and development work that has been undertaken with the support of an ACT Arts Fund Project grant for 2012, CSIRO and Centenary of Canberra.
Following the showing there will be a Q&A session, where we would very much appreciate your feedback to assist in the ongoing development of the work. Refreshments will be provided and we will be happy to have a chat with you in person at the end of the Q&A.
As a result of widespread use of antibiotics below effective levels, every type of harmful bacteria has become stronger and less responsive to treatment. Antibiotics that were once reserved as drugs of last resort are now being routinely used, and bacteria are now showing resistance to these medicines. Meanwhile, dormant animal reservoirs of novel diseases such as Hendra, SARS and Ebola are increasingly brought into contact with people through evolving networks of human behaviour – agriculture, travel and urbanisation.
We use systems of antibiotic resistance and pathogen emergence as a jumping off point to apply to other resistances – our inherent ability to resist external social and cultural influences. We consider the potential ramifications of epidemic failure of critical thinking and an unstoppable spread of harmful ideas and broken logic. For instance, were a disease to emerge that was transmitted person-to-person via text messaging, email, telephone or video, what steps of biocontainment could be taken to identify the pathogen, halt its spread and develop a cure?
The format of the showing draws on conventions of scientific lecture. This repurposing of an existing presentation style for narrative theatre offers the potential for a hyper-real experience wherein a seemingly mundane and credible presentation is contrasted with a surreal and highly speculative scenario.
The showing employs elements of theatre, film and video gaming. The performance will be viewed by audiences in the CSIRO Discovery Centre lecture theatre, with one character in the theatre and one in a second venue, elsewhere within the CSIRO Black Mountain facility. For part of the showing, this second performer is visible on a large screen in the theatre via high bandwidth videoconference. The audience interact in real time with the other stage using mediated communications channels. The audience as individuals and as a group solves a series of puzzles within the narrative to resolve an immediate crisis.
With the advent of accessible, high quality live video transfer, new methods of performance interaction have become possible. Given the pace of the National Broadband Network rollout, these techniques are likely to be ubiquitous within the next three years. The use of lecture theatre spaces opens up a vast new resource of readily available, high capacity, low cost venues which are otherwise underutilised for creative works.
Videoconference is essentially scale-free, offering the potential to tour nationally or internationally with minimal cost, with the performance set, cast and crew remaining in place in Canberra and performers travelling with nominal technical equipment to venues with appropriate broadband capacity. Future implications of this or similar work include the presentation of the work to multiple theatres simultaneously, vastly increasing our potential reach, and it would be a trivial step to simulcast performances to desktop computers anywhere in the world.
The development of this showing is supported by the ACT Government through the ACT Arts Fund 2012 project funding. The upcoming major performance season in 2013 is supported by the ACT Government through the ACT Arts Fund 2012 project funding.
This is a Centenary of Canberra project, proudly supported by the ACT Government.