Elena can be understood as the harmless creature living peacefully in its own little world. Its sensitivity made itself a victim of human curiosity. The creature’s insecure life and eventual death is a simplified story of the common fate of many animals we keep, especially the ones considered as lower in intelligence, such as goldfish, hamster or parrots.
Elena seen as the interaction experience is framed at human empathy as well as cruelty. I am here to pose a question on human empathy—our natural response towards pains and anxiety suffered by beings we consider as “weaker”, “cheaper”, “lower”, “other”.
What I put on stage is not only the creature, but also we the human participants. What I’m inviting the audience to experience is how human may tramp on the anxiety and sensitivity with pleasure.
Participants are used to be in control of “lower” beings, whether it’s a gold fish or a programmed creature. It’s interesting to observe their different reaction and interpretation of the resilient creature shows. When confronted with defiance, do they try to force their control through? Or do they stop and try to figure out the intention of the creature?
The killing of the creature is designed to be a harsh and sudden one. The fact that the creature, or a computer program dies so easily is making the suggestion that a lower end being can be fragile. Does it make us sympathies their vulnerability and ephemeral life? Or does it only re-assure our ego for our own power and strength?