Elevators are awkward spaces. There are unspoken rules about what behaviour is acceptable while riding in an elevator with a stranger. If these rules are broken, the remainder of the elevator ride becomes unbelievably uncomfortable. If a stranger casts their gaze in any direction other than towards the doors, this can threaten the delicate agreement that tacitly exists between the occupants of the elevator, turning the mood into an emotional pressure cooker.
At first glance, this looks like a normal elevator. Look closer, and you’ll see that there are peepholes in each door. As you gaze through one of these holes, you observe people, or riding inside this elevator, interacting with each other. This is not a regular animation; each person inside this elevator is a character with an individual personality and a range of different behaviours and reactions. The characters’ personalities have a degree of autonomy that allows for different reactions to circumstances present in his or her environment. While you observe them, they are deciding how to behave based on what is immediately happening in the elevator. Their responses are triggered by interacting with other people – including you.
You are able to affect the unfolding story in the elevator simply by gazing through the peepholes in the doors, just keep in mind that everyone is not agreeable to being stared at.
A Delicate Agreement extends the tradition of relational aesthetics through requiring viewer participation and interaction in order to be fully realized. Within the structure of interactive narrative, this piece examines performance and region behaviour as applied both to the characters in the elevator and the viewer. These characters are also wary of employing gaze in excess so as not to upset the delicate agreement that exists between strangers inside an elevator. They will only exchange glances unless affected by viewers to stare at each other. Their reactions also vary depending on if one, two, or no viewers are peering in at them. Thus, the viewers’ gaze is participatory, resulting in the emergence of a rich and complex narrative.
Actors: Laura Arnold, Marian Dörk, Eleonora Egle, Saul Greenberg, Johannes Kiemer, Ehud Sharlin, Inbal Sharlin and Katherine Skipsey
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