Alas, time for final proposal.
I’m pretty excited to be teaming up with Jingyao in our quest to creating a dollhouse / miniature model / paper theater (we’re yet to define it). We were inspired by our lockdown experiences in populated cities hard-hit by the pandemic — how our daily routines changed as we spent the majority of our days home alone, and how our relationships with our neighbors evolved. We read stories from Wuhan, Milan, New York City and beyond, about people coping with the lockdown through music, art, self care, cheering for essential workers, and loving balcony exchanges with their neighbors. We hope to create a narrative, present in the form of an interactive installation utilizing paper model and projection, to capture that spirit.
There’s also something inherently interesting about watching and being watched that comes with urban living where we can peak at people’s lives through their windows. Jingyao shared this photography project called Out My Window by Gail Albert Halaban, and we found it quite accurately captured the sentiment. Another example that comes into mind is this play called I Am a Moon by Yi Zhu, where troubling people living in the same apartment buildings find loose connections to each other.
Gail Halaban – Out My Window (2012)
Our initial idea was that the audience would serve as both the observer and the orchestrator, where moving the furnitures in the miniature rooms will directly impact character’s movement and/or storyline. However after extensive, and rather painful, discussions, we decided that those type of interaction, even when restraining the things that are movable, can be 1) too intrusive, 2) difficult to predict, plan out, or create smooth transitions within. We were also worried about our workload.
confusing sketch from our brainstorming session
Two different aesthetics: shadow, and realistic projection
We came to two possible alternatives, or perhaps something in between:
- A linear narrative. Audience will only drive the story to move forward at a few critical points. In this case, we will only focus on one/two windows, and the rest will be background actions, only react to the interaction of the main character(s).
This might require more curation in order to indicate the audience to make the “right” move – there need to be, for example, three different objects to put into the room, so that they’ll know what to do (and when to do it, hopefully).
- Two time loops for each story. The characters are either in a state of idle, or in a state of action — this can be initiated by a light source, a switch (door bell), or a physical object — and they will go back to idle state once the trigger is removed / action is complete.
This would require more control logic (creating 8-16 different story sequences) on the creation end, but the interaction will be free play. There’s no “right” move to be made.
Our current goal is to finish writing the story and have a design by this upcoming weekend, and hopefully start fabrication immediately afterwards.