Active Spectatorship and Co-creation in the Digital Making of Flanker Origami

TitleActive Spectatorship and Co-creation in the Digital Making of Flanker Origami
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsMastrominico, B
JournalBody, Space and Technology
Start Page100
Date PublishedFebruary 2023
Type of ArticlePractice Research paper
Publication LanguageEnglish
Keywordsdigital performance, New technologies, online theatre, performer training, Spectatorship, theatre anthropology

How do spectators engage with, elaborate on and articulate the experience of a digital performance? What are the parameters that regulate the bodily interaction between performers and spectators, when the latter are ‘not seen to be seeing’ through digital screens? When and how can a spectator gain agency in a mediated creative encounter? This practice research aims to re-construct the affective nature of the entanglement between the spectator’s body and the technology, facilitated by the performer. In my analysis, I will utilise audience interaction and responses by diverse spectators experiencing iterations of Flanker Origami, a live online and home-specific performance, originally devised with my company Organic Theatre for the first hybrid edition of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2021, and developed into an ongoing practice research project. The analysis draws upon an online exchange and mentorship process on Zoom with Odin Teatret’s founder and director Eugenio Barba and actress, writer and director Julia Varley, alongside spectators’ participation in the performance, and formal and informal feedback gathered through audience reviews, Q&As, emails, and social media messaging. The interaction, reactions and commentary from online spectators shift the focus to a polyphonic reading of the digital work. This, I argue, carries the potential to change meaning, purpose and direction of the performance through processes of active spectatorship and co-creation, emerging as a tendency for spectators to generate alternative pathways of embodying the remote communication. My conclusion proposes that far from being disorienting or promoting detachment, in this fluid and porous interchange, technology activates digital spectators to become co-creators of Flanker Origami.