We call our ongoing collaboration, and the body of work we have developed for stage, screen, installation, and page III. III may be interpreted to be about many things: most urgently, perhaps, III is an investigation of the multiplicity and relationality of all ‘things’ – human and otherwise.
In the performances and installations that we develop in III, we devise scenarios in which we selectively constrain access to the event for different people in different ways. We do this by experimenting with the configuration of the audience in space, and with the use of technologies like individual monitors, mirrors, headphones, and transducers, in order to foreground the unique frame of reference of each audience member as creative and constitutive of the ‘choreography’ and ‘composition’ itself.
An underlying assumption in our approach to designing events in III is that in the course of any encounter, ‘we’ (performers and public alike), each become aware of and care about different details, to the exclusion of others. The boundary between that which we notice and do not notice, hints at what matters to us and for us, in this situation. As we become implicated as participants in a given context, the perceptibility of different ‘things’ in this context (e.g. bodies, or bodily processes and movements), is not an attribute of these things themselves. Rather, the visibility, audibility, or even conceivability of these things as things emerges in relation to our individual frame of reference.
The use of sensing technologies in III, from mirrors to video cameras to biosensors, is not, for us, a means to extend access to or produce representations of bodies and movements. Rather, we use sensing technologies to encourage sensing of the boundaries of one’s own frame of reference—and the sensing of this sensing as well—as a transient site of continual differentiation between the perceptible and imperceptible, the significant and insignificant.
Our interest in III is not so much in why we each perceive differently; rather, we are interested in the effects these differences make in our relationships, and in our ways of relating—personally, professionally, socially, politically, and playfully. These relationships and ways of relating may emerge both within and between disciplinary cultures, from the arts to humanities to sciences. The question for us in III is this: when ‘we’ (any we) cannot perceive or experience events in the same way (and we would argue that this is always the case), how do we continue to ‘engage’—to collaborate, to cooperate, to communicate—without collapsing the differences that make our relationships meaningful to us and for us? Further, how do these ways of relating become integral to the thing-we-call-our-work itself?
– Teoma Naccarato & John MacCallum 2019