eStranged: a telematic performance collaboration, November 20 -24

eStranged poster

eStranged: a telematic performance collaboration between the IMFA and UNH, November 20 -24

Estranged is a telematic, multi-media performance piece based on Albert Camus’ seminal

existential novel L’Étranger. The performance will take place with actors and audience

simultaneously at the University of Maine and the University of New Hampshire, with two

theatres connected via audio and video streamed in real time. This creates a performance

that exists in both the physical and virtual realms, providing an opportunity to examine the

possibilities and contradictions in these two modes of social presence.

L’Étranger addresses the change in the cultural role of the individual in the early 20thcentury.

Where Camus chronicled the existential position of the individual becoming

estranged from previously powerful and defining cultural institutions such as family and

church, Estranged will investigate the contemporary shift in the position of the individual from

one of aloneness to one of constant (re)fabrication and exchange.

The piece is based on the premise that we currently exist in two forms, our “real self” with our

actual physical and geographical limitations and predispositions, and our media-produced and

publicly broadcast “virtual self”. We aim to investigate the ramifications of this current cultural

migration of the individual from the physical world to the virtual world as we slowly become

avatars scripted both by ourselves and by the logic of what it means to exist on-line.

Our thinking is informed by Gilles Delueze’s idea of the “dividual”, as articulated in his essay

Postscript on the Societies of Control. Deleuze poses that the contemporary Self is becoming

a collection of on-line data that can be (re)constructed, tracked, charted, decomposed and

redefined on-the-fly, perhaps reimagining Karl Marx’s description of Modern society:

“all that is solid melts into air.”

As creators, we hope this work will help merge a very contemporary mode of social

engagement, the internet, with one of the oldest, the theatre, and in doing so help inform and

progress the possibilities of the two, both in form and in content.