Welcome to ABADYL, a spectacular, modern city. Beautifully placed between the mountains ONRO, the forests ALTH and ARLEEANS and the see. The oldest parts of ABADYL are TRAORA and FISKMORE. As a visitor coming from the airport of ARILLA you will have to pass between old TRAORA and modern, industrious STRUKON, hidden behind the fantastic billboards, to arrive at the modern centre of the city: The illustrious political and cultural city centre of HORIZONE, the phenomenal and very sophisticated shopping centre SHINJO and the calm and serious business centre CAPPRIE with its famous “Rain Music” and the mysterious “Black Palace”. The district of INDUN with the big and prosperous industries of ABADYL, is under heavy control to secure the inhabitants of ABADYL sound and peaceful surroundings. Between these modern and industrious districts we find the housing areas: The wonderful fairytale-like VILKIM STEM with its entertaining and famous Zoo, and the older social housing area NEEBI with its old cathedral. In the outskirts of ABADYL we find a restricted area, a swamp named TRAILERS PARK. Tourists are strictly recommended to keep away from the poisonous vapours. Half of the neighbouring housing area CAMPORIA disappeared in the swamp under an awful disaster, as the surface was undermined and cracked, probably due to chemical waste from other parts of the city. Today CAMPORIA is a very special and beautiful district for wealthy people, the intellectuals and the artists. As a tourist you are recommended to follow tours led by a certified guide, as it is very difficult to find your way in the mess of little street and alleys. Last to mention is the big cemetery CRYZO ZOO, also the place for the famous car races of ABADYL. The ONRO Mountains are much esteemed for holidays, mountain climbing and rafting, and the wonderful climate make it a good place for numerous health resorts. As a tourist you will enjoy the friendly and helpful inhabitants and love to visit the old and the modern ABADYL. In the old parts of the city you will find museums for the spaceship and for the notorious jukebox sect. In the modern parts you will find all kind of cultural events and sports, as well as outstanding shopping possibilities. See you in Abadyl! (An abstract in dynamic acryl)
The project CubeX is an interactive performance-installation with audience participation. An innovative scenic hybrid between performance art, computer games and interactive film. The interaction will take place both directly with other participants and live performers present in the scenery and with physical or virtual objects and scenic elements – and indirectly through digital sensor techniques and cameras “reading” and responding to the physical actions. In the scenic universe of CubeX there will be alternative tracks to follow and every choice will form a unique path of a voyage through the landscape of the story. Based on the tale of “The Pied Pieper” the audience is invited to take part in a dynamic media theatre, where the participants are confronted with the challenge and the consequences of the choice, the overall theme being “the anatomy of choice”.
Seen in the light of the challenges of exploring and developing this rather new artistic field, the project aims to develop and prepare a common interdisciplinary laboratory and production plan, as a collaboration between Nordic performance artists, film- and media producers, interaction designers and technology developers. It is our experience that new technologies need to be tested and placed in the bigger picture of an actual production like CubeX. Otherwise the testing will not be meaningful, but only serve as a demonstration of technology or as further exploration of things we already know. Through this common Nordic effort PRAMnet aim to create a successful production and at the same time make it possible for artists and researchers active in the field of new media, to encompass new knowledge about the artistic possibilities and competence that the Nordic countries offer within this area. We want to initiate an artistic process where explorative research and practical production material is developed in parallel; an interchange of ideas and experiences that creates new knowledge in the field of multidisciplinary art.
THE PIED PIPER – is the common English translation of the title of the German folk tale THE RAT CATCHER OF HAMELIN. The word “pied” means “a lot of different colours” and so the title calls attention to the difficulty of valuating and categorizing the Stranger, coming to the town. Certainly his clothes are no normal clothes, one might say, he is wearing “camouflage”, and he is playing his pipe for people to listen. But why has he come to town, who is he, and what does he want? The younger versions of the story tells us, that Hamelin was attacked by a great amount of rats, and that The Pied Piper played his pipe and lured the rats away to drown in the river of Weser. As the Magistrate was too stingy to pay the asked price, The Pied Piper punished the town by luring the children away, never to be seen again. The older versions of the story have no rats, and so The Pied Piper has no “legitimate reason” to take the children away. He is just a Stranger in pied clothes, playing for people what they want to hear, and following his own secret plans. The story differs from most of the many European folk tales by being relatively young, and might have a historical background:
Czech king Premysl Otokar (1253-1278) wanted to colonize his vast region Morava, and sent out his envoys, called “locators”, to persuade people from the West – as in Hamelin in the northern parts of Germany – to go east and settle down, enjoying a 10 year long freedom of taxes. As Premysl Otokars archbishop Bruno came from Hamelin, exactly this town might have been chosen as a special target. And on the 26th of July 1284 (and so under Otokar’s son Wenceslas II 1271-1305) a locator, perhaps named Body, probably took about 130 young people of Hamelin with him and brought them on a long travel to the mountains of Morava, where they settled down in “Hamlinkov”, now called Podomi: Their parents in Hamelin were left with no heirs to there trade and their belongings, and it is very likely, that they never heard a word from their offsprings again. Historians count the number of such colonisators to be more than 25.000 people. But these German settlements disappeared in the wars and the plague epidemics in 15-1600.(Source: Politiken, 3. August 2002, Dana Schmidt, Prag. Named historians: Wolfgang Wann, Germany, Ervin Cerny-Kretinsky, Czech) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pied_Piper_of_Hamelin
We have chosen the younger version of the story as a concept for the CubeX-project, but certainly want to keep the foggy picture of the man in the pied clothes: Is he taking the children away to live happily ever after, or is his goal to exploit and abuse? In that aspect, the historical facts are not speaking against us – and “the rats” might be seen as a metaphor for a society, not giving its young descendants proper opportunities, and therefore being “punished” by their emigration.
Abadyl has sixteen districts, which for our purpose in the performance installation CubeX are organized in seven districts for work and for living:
– Traora, Fiskmore – TRADITIONS AND TOURISTS
– Horizon, Shinjo, Capprie (Cryzo Zoo) – POWER, MONEY, ENTERTAINMENT (AND TOURISTS)
– Vilkin Stem, Neebi – IF YOU HAVE NOTHING TO HIDE YOU HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR
– Camporia – HE LIVES GOOD WHO LIVES IN THE QUIET
– Trailers Park – TO LIVE BEYOND THE LAW
– Strukon/Indun (Arilla) – THE WHEELS WHO KEEPS IT RUNNING
– Onro (Arleeans, Alth) – HEALTH AND HOLIDAYS
The event might take place in some kind of big hall (=sport) or tent (=circus) and is intended for adults, perhaps bringing their children (not for children alone, but for families) At the entrance the participants are asked to choose a place to live and an occupation, and are given a “chip” coded according to their choices. There might be a limited number of openings, regarding as well the housing as the occupations. (The children are to follow their parent’s choices, but might have obligations/possibilities of their own, according to their age and own independent choices.) The different parts of the city are described through different activities, where the participants have to be active in some way. But there will be “Sundays”, where everyone is free to go and look at the other parts of the town. Via the coding of the chip it will be possible to “earn” and to “spend” money. Examples: The holiday district ONRO offers opportunities such as skiing or rafting, which can be tried out in 3D-video, and the district of TRAORA, with a part of the population secretly believing in a magic jukebox, which might be able to tell the future, offers a lot of gambling, share trading and so on. Every part of the city will have its own well described scenario, for the participants to feel on safe ground regarding their role in the play. But it will not be necessary for anyone actually to embody a certain “role”. Professional performers will guide the participants and will play the parts, which take the entertainment of “normal living in ABADYL” the necessary steps further into the row of fictional events:
At a point the very different parts of the city are overtaken by a common danger – “the rats”.
The normal life is suspended, nothing is possible. Every part of the town will have to solve the problem accordingly to their specific possibilities.
The authorities as such are as helpless as the inhabitants.
The “Pied Piper” pops up as out of nowhere, and is willing to help for a price.
He helps, but will the city pay the price?
If it will not, or if just one of the parts of the city will not, what happens then? Who will loose the most, who will think they are able to manage anyway?
Is it possible to foresee the consequences? What will The Pied Piper do?
Our construction of virtual ABADYL might be explained as a result of the more or less democratic choices of former inhabitants. According to the actual choices made by the participants in the actual show, the “rats” and “The Pied Piper” might materialize in a different way.
But now the participants are facing a different kind of choice: The democratic choice of “what to do”. What will be the best choice for the small community of virtual ABADYL?
On this step the producers of the performance installation CubeX will have to think hard and guide carefully to present a very limited number of possible solutions and their results for the participants. At this point the children might be guided into another “end of story” than their parents.
Virtual ABADYL will vanish – the choices we will have to make IRL are still open.
The labyrinth of CAMPORIA, the swamp of TRAILERS PARK, the mountains of ONRO, the magic jukebox and other “sights” of ABADYL, offer possibilities for creating interesting interactive scenarios for the participants, grown ups as well as children.
Virtual ABADYL should be fairly realistic in its construction and expression, but with a fairy tale twist, taking the participants into a “what if” kind of world, on one side comforting just like the world outside, which we know or imagine to know, on the other hand it should be a slightly bit different, which allows for virtual “as if” solutions, and helps the participants to enter the fictional contract proposed to them through the performance installation.
The visual “look” of ABADYL can be a dynamic mix of 3D graphics, live videostream, pre-edited video sequences, that evolves and changes as the performance is enacted by the participants. A computergame setup !
PRAMnet is a network for Practice-driven Research in Art and Media – founded in 2005 by a group of professionals from film, stage and contemporary performance and media art, primarily based in the region of Malmo and Copenhagen. The group represents a wide range of interdisciplinary theoretical and practical experiences with a common interest in spatial interaction and digital based scenic media theatre.
Both the individual members and the group in common has former produced several arrangements, productions and writings within the field of Practice-driven Research in Art and Media.
This project was later developed into Journey to Abadyl which you can find here