09/11/2016 | Cesc Martínez | Link |


BeAnotherLab: Library of Ourselves

The multidisciplinary artistic collective BeAnotherLab since long ago puts into practice the simultaneous exchange of personalities. The Machine to Be Another is a device that, thanks to virtual reality, allows the spectator or user to see the point of view of another person, to turn himself into another person. It can be applied to terrains as varied as the mediation of conflicts or art therapy. By mixing performing arts and virtual reality, their installations alter the concepts of representation and perception of reality itself and raise the hypothesis of how the world would be like if we could actually see through the eyes of another. Technology, neuropsychology and art on a device that has gained worldwide recognition.

IF: How will the device work at Arts Santa Monica?

Daniel González: Those who experience The Machine to Be Another’s installation very often end up embracing each other. People really connect with the experience of one another, but there is a limit regarding the live stage: it is for a very small number of people. With Library of Ourselves we intend to find a way to convert the experience into a collective action with the contribution of communities of people, for example those at risk of social exclusion or other groups. Along with these groups, we will record a series of narratives which will be later reproduced by assistants through the technology BeAnotherLab, and finally take the form of a library of experiences. So, we’ll create a database with several people from the community who want to collaborate and share their stories, their narratives, their personal story with the rest of the community so that it can become known. We will not intervene in the execution or in the production, but we want to create an organism that really allows the people who watch the narratives to have the feeling that they can hear the thoughts of the others.

Arthur Pointeau: Basically, our installation consist of inviting the person to wear a camera on the forehead and follow a series of rules, such as move the head slowly, or follow a couple of simple instructions. Sometimes we can also recourse to touch by introducing some objects or provoking  interactions with other people who are also inside the same virtual space. With The Library of Ourselves, we have the spectator watching prerecorded videos in which other people wanted to share their personal narratives from his own point of view.

IF: Is it more theatrical now?

Daniel González: Like at the beginning, our starting point is performing arts under the concept of immersive theatre. The embodiment technique creates the illusion of seeing and feeling in the body of another person, and that has a great dramaturgic potential.

Arthur Pointeau: The device started with an artistic residency at L’´Estruch, in Sabadell. The way it was firstly designed, The Machine allowed to generate a real time experience by synchronising movements and gestures. Later, we incorporated the technique of Gender Swap, the interchange of genres, that we named Body Swap. We created a choreography through which the users would move at the same time, and touch their hands, etc, so as to generate sensations.

Daniel González: It’s time we scaled that experience now. The users will see the pre-recorded material they have consulted as if they were in a library and each person will be able to think over  another person’s narrative. We have been gathering with people from Raval neighbourhood. We have been interviewing them and recording the videos the audience will be able to watch.