Artist Focus 33: Blast Theory

16 October, 2013

Blast Theory seems finally to offer Britain a theatre group that delves into our popular culture to create deeply challenging work.” The Sunday Times

Blast Theory is renowned internationally as one of the most adventurous artists’ groups using interactive media, creating groundbreaking new forms of performance and interactive art that mixes audiences across the internet, live performance and digital broadcasting. Led by Matt Adams, Ju Row Farr and Nick Tandavanitj, the group’s work explores interactivity and the social and political aspects of technology. It confronts a media saturated world in which popular culture rules, using performance, installation, video, mobile and online technologies to ask questions about the ideologies present in the information that envelops us.

Their list of awards is impressive, they’ve won the Golden Nica for Interactive Art at Prix Ars Electronica, the Maverick Awards at the Game Developers Choice Awards in the USE and The Hospital’s Interactive Art Award among others. The group has received four BAFTA Award nominations.

Dial Ulrike And Eamon Compliant

To start you call a phone number which is marked on the wall.

You hear a short introduction and choose whether you will be Ulrike or Eamon then hang up. You find a quiet place to begin.

Two minutes later your phone rings: now you are the person you chose. As you hear about the progression that each person makes into violence and death you stare at the everyday surroundings. You might be asked to find a vantage point, to linger near a doorway or to find a nearby bus shelter. You loiter, you gaze into the distance and you use your keypad to make your choices. You hear about TV appearances, the fire bombing of a supermarket and the night that Benno was shot by a cop on a demonstration. Or, as Eamon, you reflect on getting beaten by soldiers as a teenager, the killing of Ivan Toombs and your rise to the ‘Nutting Squad’ in charge of internal security for the IRA.

As Eamon and Ulrike reach the climax of their political actions, you too must make a choice. Hang up now and walk away. Or stay on the line and make a public statement about your political beliefs.

Recordings are uploaded to the web following the festival. Participants receive a text message telling them where to find their recording and those made by others.

A version of this work – Ulrike and Eamon Compliant – premiered at the Venice Biennale in 2009 and has since toured internationally.

Frequency 2013 will host the world premiere of Dial Ulrike and Eamon Compliant.

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