this text has legs

Just got this via email:

Mobile phone obsession inspires Circa?s latest production This Text Has Legs. Audience members are asked to defy theatre etiquette by turning their mobile phones on and sending text messages to a large projection screen throughout the show. The messages form the ?script? of the show and Circa turns the words into physical poetry. Guest artists Lawrence English and Zane Trow weave live sound into the performance creating a multi-layered information exchange between the audience and performers.

Artistic Director, Yaron Lifschitz said: ?The idea for the show came from being in a theatre audience myself. Hearing the announcement for mobile phones to be turned off, made me want to explore the possibility of the mobile phone as a device for live communication between audience and performer?. ?Audience members are given an active role and their messages can actually alter the direction of the performance.?

This Text Has Legs was originally presented in 2004 as part of Circa?s
experimental One Night Stands concert series and the show has evolved into a full season due to the audience?s overwhelming response to the live texting.

This Text Has Legs launches Circa?s Season 2005 Surround Profound. Known for their inventiveness and intelligent physicality, Circa?s 2005 season explores movement based performance work that embraces experimentation, multimedia and improvisation. Laced with vulnerability and passion, the Ensemble?s work presents circus as an immediate and moving art form.

This Text Has Legs runs from 22 – 26 March, including Good Friday and Easter Saturday, at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts, Fortitude Valley.

Bookings: or (07) 3872 900

Consumption is [not] a Dirty Word

Matt Jones picks up on some other bloggers’ disgust and despair about the tired and dirty terms consumer and user, and wonders whether there might be a simple and adequate replacement:

A colleague here at Nokia suggest a simple substitute for both words, after hearing me whine one-time-too-many about the usage of ‘consumer’.

He suggested “Individual”.

Does that work? A quick mental search-and-replace as a test:

User-centred design = Individual-centred design

Consumer electronics = Electronics for individuals

Consumer awareness = Individual’s awareness

User interface = Interface to an individual

Matt gives “indidividual” 7/10 and asks for our thoughts.

Well, I’m coming at it from a different angle than designers probably do, but I’m guessing the problem that using the term “individual” might solve is this: both “consumer” and “user” are inadequate terms because they construct passive [individuals].

These terms construct purchasers or operators of objects whose design and purpose are assumed to be neatly contained in the mind of the producer. And this runs counter to all good contemporary thinking (I’m guessing) on how design does and should work (open, transparent, participatory, minimal??), and how our interactions with cultural formations and objects (cities, screens, buildings, computers, celebrities, games, and phones) more broadly do work.

[I need to point out, though, that the “not” in the title of this post refers to my belief that part of the problem that the term ‘consumer’ has is a widespread failure to understand that consumption is not necessarily passive in the first place]

So in these terms, “individual” doesn’t work too well either – in fact it erases all trace of the interaction between a person and a technology or cultural object or, indeed, other human beings.

As for other alternatives, I kind of like “prosumer” as a blend of producer and consumer, but it leaves that dichotomy intact and is a term used to refer to hi-fi enthusiasts as much as anything. And it’s just so…corporate buzzword-esque.

So bugger it, why not “player”?? It’s a pipe dream I know, but it would be cool.

I’d love to hear any other ideas.