An automated, voice-directed system borrowed from warehouse management changes voices and becomes a child. The great void of a large and dormant theatre is turned into a 'space for production'. An audience are cast as extras, given flashlights and high-visibility vests, and cycled through the ‘production’ in groups of fifteen: 30 mins in the seats, 30 on stage. The concatenated, synthetic and at times melancholic voice guiding them (via binaural recordings in their headphones) seems to come from speakers in the room, audible to everyone.
But nothing is shared. Collectivity is illusion, and this audience is atomised, adrift or apparently asleep among both seating and stage, plugged into separate audio streams, awaiting the call for what seems to be a rehearsal for abandonment, a trying-on of powerlessness. Things seem both alien and familiar, like a dream mixing past experience with anticipated trauma. Is it the system dreaming, or the ‘extras' within it - or both?
As the operations shift from obtuse attempts at functionality to an incongruous interest in sentience and interiority, so the dynamic seems less top-down than inside-out: a decidedly non-efficient, looping and hallucinatory process, wherein roles of attendant and dependent switch as easily as the flashlights changing hands.
A House on Fire project; with the support of the Culture Programme of the European Unio
ANT HAMPTON made his first show as Rotozaza in 1998, a project which ended up spanning performance, theatre, installation, intervention and writing-based works, and often focussing on the use of instructions given to unrehearsed 'guest' performers, both on stage and in public settings, as detailed here. Rotozaza became a partnership with Silvia Mercuriali, and ended in 2009 after their last production Etiquette, which was also the first Autoteatro ‘show’. Since then Ant has worked with Glen Neath, Joji Koyama, Isambard Khroustaliov (Sam Britton), Tim Etchells, Gert-Jan Stam and Britt Hatzius to create the work detailed here - over 48 different language versions exist of the various productions created so far.
Other solo projects include ongoing experimentation around 'live portraiture' as The Other People (La Otra Gente): structured encounters with people from non-theatrical milieu - this strand of Hampton’s work is starting to cross over with the Autoteatro work (Cue China, Someone Else...). He was head dramaturg for 'Projected Scenarios' at Manifesta7 Biennial for Contemporary Art and has contributed to projects by Jerome Bel and Forced Entertainment.
Ant has also worked as coach / mentor for artist programmes such as MAKE (Ireland), A-PASS, Sound Image Culture (Beligum) and, most recently in late 2013, Dasarts (Netherlands) where in collaboration with Edit Kaldor he designed and mentored a 10-week block, ‘Every Nerve’. He has created and led workshops worldwide, including 'Fantasy Interventions - Writing for Site-Specific Performance', and ‘Raising Voice in Public Space’ with Edit Kaldor. Currently in development: together with Christophe Meierhans, an ‘automatic workshop’ based on the ideas behind Someone Else.
written and directed by Ant Hampton
sound design and composition: Sam Britton
artistic advice: Kate McIntosh
editing / system design / tech director: Hugh Roche Kelly
French translation and edit: Khristine Gillard
Dutch translation and edit: Daan Alkemade
early development at Empac: Geoff Sobelle and Trey Lyford
assistance at Empac: Julia Asharaf
commissioned by: Ash Bulayev / Empac
creative producer: Katja Timmerberg
Extra People was commissioned by EMPAC (Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, USA) with coproduction from Kaaitheater (Brussels) and Malta Festival Poznań
supported by the Culture Program of the European Commission via the House on Fire network
Extra support from French Institute Alliance Française (NYC), Kingsfountain (Paris)
Thanks to Vallejo Gantner, Britt Hatzius, Matthieu Goeury / Vooruit, Edmund and Tina Manwarren Roche-Kelly and to the many volunteers who have helped with tryouts and development in Troy, Brussels and Gent.
Special thanks to Coda Cola, London, for generous studio support