Subcon Warrior 1.0 (2006)
A large-scale location based promenade performance work produced by renowned physical theatre company Zen Zen Zo. Themed around the experiences and ethical dilemmas inherent within contemporary computer gaming scenarios it utilized a dramatic combination of multimedia scenography and audience-performer choreography to profoundly challenge numerous conventions of contemporary performance. Technologies deployed included augmented reality mediatised sets and locations as well as the extensive use of wearable, portable and wireless systems. Audiences became central participants within the work’s creative processes and were taken on an immersive journey via numerous sets distributed throughout buildings, their environs and a private house. As multimedia director my role was to work in close collaboration with the directors and players to create visual materials, wearable computing and imaging devices, computer surveillance systems, wide area audio broadcasting and bugging and surveillance solutions. The production was hugely successful selling out every performance of its run and producing strong and vibrant reactions from its diverse audiences.
1: Public Performance, 11–29 July, 2006, 11th-29th July, Milton State School Building/Environs/Private Housing, Brisbane, curator Lynne Bradley.
TEAM: Keith Armstrong (Visual and Interactive Director) with Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre Company
PARTNERS: A Queensland Performing Arts Trust/ and ZenZenZo, ‘In the Raw’ Production.
MORE: The immersive multimedia script developed a complex computer gaming scenario that required audiences to engage in physical action, active problem solving and role play, thereby developing a deep physical and emotional connection to the ‘game’ and its characters. Audience groups and performers shared common spaces and scenarios and each were handed a range of problems and ethical dilemmas which they were asked to resolve in limited time periods, ensuring that the work’s outcomes could be dramatically different depending upon any one audience’s will, ability and collective skills.
This project was an outstanding success elicited major financial backing from Qld Performing Arts Trust and Arts Queensland to produce a full-scale subsequent work called Subcon Warrior 2.0, produced for the 2008 Brisbane Festival. Subcon Warrior 1.0 built strongly upon new forms of mediatised and interactive performance being developed throughout the world at that time to profoundly challenge existing ‘passive’ performance paradigms, particularly through the innovative and wide scale integration of new technologies.