The city of light, a “smart city” in a country regarded as progressive and open-minded, Eindhoven markets itself as an incubator of technological innovation – an exciting destination for students and tourists, and a welcoming new home for migrants. Yet appearances can be deceiving: animal cruelty, human trafficking, and the stain of distant oil spills lurk beneath the city’s pretty, shiny surface.Library Eindhoven Workshops
We set about researching these issues from our base in the public library, and came up with the idea of a board game as a way to incorporate several different situations within one performance: Peopoly, a pastiche of Monopoly. The graphics skills of our student participants were put to good use creating a board that visually represented the different issues, and avatars for playing pieces: a tourist, a migrant and a student. The different experiences of these three characters when they came to Eindhoven formed the content of the performance and laid bare the ignored or unknown situations.
Working at MADlab studio’s
We encountered another, unexpected, situation: network issues. We were in the “city of technology” where the lightbulb and casette tape were invented, but the internet connection at the public library was weak and blocked ports prevented the streams from working. Martin and Rob executed some impressive technical acrobatics to get the streams working, but we still had to limit the number of computers online to ensure that the connection wouldn’t drop during the performance. This in turn required some cyberformance acrobatics from the few who could be online; luckily everyone was fit and no-one slipped!
Local artist and curator Martin Voorbij was an excellent MC for the game/performance, mediating between the online and Eindhoven audiences and commentating the progression of the player-avatars around the board. He also facilitated the discussion, between those physically present in Eindhoven, the online audience in the chat, and gathered audiences in Graz and Nantes who joined via the streams. Different personal experiences of migration were shared, and the hidden issues of industrial pig farming, human trafficking and Dutch Shell Oil’s responsibility for the environmental disaster in the Niger Delta were discussed. This was followed by an improvised audio-visual jam session between the three streaming locations (Eindhoven, Graz and Nantes) as a creative response to the situation.
We have a situation! is a series of live, trans-border, online-offline participatory performances addressing current cross-cultural European issues.
Between March and May 2013 four “situations” will be created in four European cities – London, Eindhoven, Nantes and Graz – with each “situation” involving a 5-day workshop and a final networked event taking place at a local venue and simultaneously
streamed live through the online platform UpStage.
Each situation is directly chosen, devised and developed by local people in each city in collaboration with lead artist Helen Varley Jamieson (Germany/NZ) and the project partners – APO33 (FR), Furtherfield (UK), MAD emergent art center (NL) and Schaumbad Freies Atelierhaus Graz (AT).
During the 5 day workshop participants are invited to share and explore ideas around the chosen theme and develop a performance using storytelling, materials, found objects, digital tools and anything they feel is relevant to the story they want to tell. At the event participants will present their chosen situation to online-offline audiences and together they will participate in discussions across European national borders that imagine creative solutions and alternatives to the issues raised. The process aims to bring people together in a creative event and foster an understanding of countries as communities of people, with many commonalities.
London (UK) – 19-23 March 2013
Nantes (FR) – 9-13 April 2013
Eindhoven (NL) – 15-18 April 2013
Graz (AT) – 17-22 May 2013
Live links to the performances and more information are available at wehaveasituation.net