Live “surveillance” visuals for interactive opera

©ALCULATED TO DEATH is a part-acoustic, part-electronic score that uses government documents obtained from WikiLeaks – including the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) and the UK Data Communications Bill – to weigh the infinite possibilities of the internet against its political and human cost.

As part of a performance at Tete a Tete Festival (2014) funded by Arts Council England, I was hired as a projectionist to develop and perform the physical experience of audience surveillance through the use of live videography and audience participation of social media projected on walls.

The piece, written by Sebastian Laskowski, features 5 instrumentalists, 4 singers, and a laptop musician.

By operating the live camera, I "performed" the role of a video journalist whose work is being broadcast live and monitored by authorities.

Mimicking a shooting style typically seen on broadcast television, the lens would point toward the performers singing and follow them one by one as if each of them were reading out a statement at a press conference, whilst also occasionally facing the audience who fill "cutaway" shots.

The lyrics of the opera were typed through a twitter feed, to mimick the experience of reading lines from Wikileaks files in real time through social networks.

The audience were encouraged to participate with a dedicated hashtag in response to those lyrics, as if it were a conversation on Twitter.

Both visuals were projected onto the walls to create that "surveillance" effect, leaving the audience questioning who does the surveillance - the media, internet, government, or all three?