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The Builders Association and dbox, SUPER VISION: TECHNOLOGY

SUPER VISION tells three stories

1. As he crosses successive borders, a solitary traveller gradually is forced to reveal all of his personal information, until his identity becomes transparent, with no part of his life left outside the boundaries of datasurveillance.

2. A young woman (Jen), addicted to the white noise of constant connection, maintains a long-distance relationship with her Grandmother. As she makes efforts to digitally archive her Grandmother's past, the Grandmother slips into senility.

3. A father covertly exploits his young son's personal data to meet the demands of the family's lifestyle. This ploy escalates beyond the father's control, until he is compelled to disappear. His wife and son are left with a starkly diminished data portrait, and his escape is shadowed by the long reach of the datasphere.

Allen Hahn

Nick Kaye: This question of the tone or the warmth or coolness has been something that has come up in different ways with many of the people that I have talked with.

Allen Hahn: On an emotional level or in literal terms?

Nick Kaye: Well, in the tone of the performance - in the idea that there is coolness in the technology, which is being either accepted or moderated by other elements of the production.

Allen Hahn: I can’t say that I have really thought about this before, but I think stylistically in the past the work of this company has been cool. And the emotional waves – the significance of a moment or event has been left to the audience to establish for themselves, which is fine and very valid but I think this piece goes to a different place. I think there is more humanity to the characters in this piece on the whole – probably across the board.

Nick Kaye: It is interesting that the lighting at that point was too warm.

Allen Hahn: Well it just ended up looking muddy. Warm lights, warm background… it just didn’t work in visual terms. It was not that it was the wrong choice for the text or the context emotionally or dramaturgically, it just didn't work visually and that trumps all, doesn't it? So I think one of the primary strengths of this piece is that we are allowed past the technology to a more human level.

Rizwan Mirza

Rizwan Mirza: I think that all of us in the company – we are all tech savvy - but we do realize that there are ways in which it does distance you from things. I guess in that way it is a comment. The closest thing I can say is that this technology was supposed to bring things closer together - and it has in terms of sharing information. But what is the meaning behind this? I think this is a subconscious feeling that people leave the shows with.

Uploaded Image
Left to right: Rizwan Mirza (the traveller) onstage; Joe Silovsky
(the TSA agent) live mediated onstage and on forestage.
Video still.

Nick Kaye: There is a reflection of that process in Moe Angelos and Tanya Selvaratnam’s performance of the relationship between the Grandmother and Jen, the Granddaughter. Moe and Tanya both talked about rehearsing this relationship in the early stages without mediation. Then, in the performance, with the technology their activities became almost private, even as they talk to each other. Their backs are to the audience. They are focused on placing themselves within a frame, in playing to camera, in order to see and be seen. They are looking at themselves all the time.

Allen Hahn

Nick Kaye: I think The Builders are pretty unique in the way in which everybody is involved in the design of the technology – because the technology is there at the beginning. It has been really interesting to hear about that process from so many different points of view.

Allen Hahn: Well, I also think that the content of the pieces the Company concerns itself with in terms of our relationship to technology, is important. What is the word? I guess it is important... I remember the assistant director of a British production which had taken London by storm, that came here and was being done at the New York Theatre Workshop - and at intermission we were introduced and she told me that it was an “important work” and I thought what an incredibly fatuous thing to say. Like, what does that mean? If you say this an important piece of work you better be damn sure you know what you are talking about - and that you can make a case for it, which I didn’t think this piece was in the least. Having said that I am going to go out on a limb and say that The Builders Association’s work is important because it explores an area that is not just part of the Zeitgeist, but a part of a real human negotiation we in the Western world are in - having to go through on a very personal level of our boundaries and our relationship to technology, which is a much more personal relationship than at any time in our history. It profoundly affects the way we think of time and space and ourselves and our connection with other people.

see also: character | performer presence |


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Page last modified by nk Wed Feb 14/2007 02:00