you me and (2001)

This web opera involves various interactions of two characters. One character is represented by a silhouette of a male figure, the other one by a silhouette of a female figure. Both audio and visual material is used. The result is a digital mantra open to various interpretations by the viewer.

Full Description

The play involves various interactions of two characters. One character is represented by a silhouette of a male figure, the other one by a silhouette of a female figure.

      There is no story in a traditional sense. Extremely strict and ritualized movements are
      executed by the two characters or multiple instances of the characters. The computer
      program serves as an invisible regisseur that directs the virtual actors by controlled random
      functions.

      Audio and visual material are reduced to essential elements. Three different tones on both
      audio channels and simple rhythm patterns direct the sensation to the spatial movement of
      sound. The images are in black and white with a few accents in color to emphasize the
      aesthetic of the actors' ornamental geometry. On one hand, the silhouettes of the figures
      are treated as individual actors and on the other hand, the spatial arrangements and
      movements of groups of figures are used as ornaments.

      The same elements of the Minimal Opera are repeated in different variations. The result is
      a digital mantra open to various interpretations by the viewer.

      The first act's title is "you me." It concentrates on the two solo actors. The second part,
      named "and," shows mass scenes and movements. The individual characters dissolve into
      ornamental patterns. "you me and," the last part, mixes individual and group actions from
      the first two acts into a final scene.

      During the three sections the words "you," "me," and "and" appear as single words to
      provide poetic metaphors for the virtual narrative in the specific act. The positions of the
      actors in mass scenes are marked by numbers from 1 to 10. The numbers appear and
      disappear as the figures emerge on stage.

      Each act is a single scene, arising in a different browser window. If all three windows are
      open, the visual-acoustic story of all three acts is permanently present. This leads to
      various unpredictable mixtures and interpretations depending on the user's action of
      resizing, moving, and arranging of windows. In addition to this simple customization of the
      play, each act itself allows users to direct actors by changing the position of the mouse.
      With this combination of high-level (moving windows, etc.) and low-level interaction (inside
      a window) the user is enabled to fine tune the Minimal Opera.

      Interactivity is provided as a choice, not as a must. The viewer can influence the narrative
      but this active experience is not necessary to go through the piece - activity and passivity
      coexist simultaneously.

      The project was made possible through a commission by HotWired, the web-site of Wired
      Magazine. It premiered in August 1997 at HotWired's RGB-Gallery at
      http://www.hotwired.com/rgb/redl.
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