Posts Tagged ‘Tim Etchells’

IQ2 – Arrive Alone, Leave Together

April 11, 2014 |  by  |  Writing  |  Share

This is something I wrote and presented at PAANZ 2013 in Auckland.  A summary of the artwork and my feeling about creating it.

IQ2 was created by Future Hotel, a collaboration between myself and Stephen Bain.

IQ2 or Intimate Questions 2 is an inter-active group questionnaire and public choreography using wireless headphones. Participants answer a series of questions with simple movements creating a sort of human pie chart of the personal, moral, and futuristic statistics of the group.

It’s a public and private personality test – private because the public don’t know what the performers are listening to and public because the performers are publicly answering private questions about their lives.

And this is what makes this piece super relevant to the contemporary lives of New Zealanders. It’s made up specifically of people’s immediate responses to questions from economics, politics and health, to social behaviour and of course our attitudes towards intimacy.

We’ve created a structured questionnaire which divide the group, into Yes, No , Maybe, I don’t know camps. The result is a physical chart which authentically represents the unique statistics, thoughts and feelings of that particular group, at that particular time, on that particular day.

As they build confidence we get them to act out some simple choreopraphy, then we pair them up,make them slow dance together and act out a mock wedding, all in a simple personality quiz’s day.

All the while the audience are watching this with a soundtrack of their very own; a narrative about people lost in an airport looking for someone or something accompanied by original music by Jeff Henderson. It’s timed perfectly to the soundtrack in the headphones but the public is unaware of the questions being asked.

Finally, to further unify the group and really test out their singing in the shower voices, the group sings together karaoke style, and have their photo taken as a record and memento of the experience.

Immediately we start to see some of the general statistics. For example we know that 99% of most groups consider themselves honest people and 1% have knowingly lied on an official tax document. Incidentally, we also know that 2% of this group started the performance as strangers but continued an intimate relationship afterwards…for 4 days.

We found that people were all too happy to follow our instructions and publicly answer our questions. And it’s simply because of the private nature of the headphones. They immediately put you in a secure space, in your own little world.

My favourite thing about IQ2 is this: it’s an experience where strangers arrive alone, but leave together, having felt that they were a part of something. They leave having met each other, in fact they leave having danced together. Often with theatre experiences, in fact in daily life itself, we arrive alone and leave alone and barely give a thought to the person sitting next to us, and how much can we even trust that person really…?

My second favourite thing is this:  It’s free.  There was one man who was clutching on to a plastic bag of bread, and when I asked if I could store his bag away for him so he could have his hands free he was very reluctant. It was obvious he was a bit of an outsider, and I found out later that he was in fact homeless…well, I assume this because when I asked him for his email address, he scrawled out a physical address which made no sense,  It didn’t exist.  But by the end of his experience he’d entrusted his sole possession to us and he had danced with a beautiful stranger and sung a song with a group of people and had smiled broadly when his was photo taken.  I love that.  I love that because this is a free and social experience, we made this man feel included.

At it’s simplest, IQ2 is an experience that allows you to learn a few things about the people around you. It leaves you richer in the knowledge that you are not alone. You aren’t the only one who thinks you are better looking than others, and you are not the only one who has told someone you loved them, then regretted it later.

When I think of why I made this piece I think of this passage from an essay by Tim Etchells on Risk and Investment:

“Thinking of investment we ask: when this performance finishes will it matter? Where will it matter? Will the performer carry this with them tomorrow? In their sleep? In their psyche? Does this action, this performance, contain these people (and me) in some strange and perhaps unspeakable Way?

I ask of each performance: will I carry this event with me tomorrow? Will it haunt me? Will it change you, will it change me, will it change things?”

I know that making this work changed me, and I hope you will allow it to change you too.


Tim Etchells: Live Forever

December 17, 2013 |  by  |  Insipirations  |  Share





It takes an accident to show what the work could be.



Tim Etchells: On Risk and Investment

April 14, 2013 |  by  |  Insipirations  |  Share

From Certain Fragments

Tim Etchells: Can You Trust The People Sitting Next to You?

November 2, 2012 |  by  |  Insipirations  |  Share

From Passages – Swiss Arts Council