Design Informatics took part in this year’s Edinburgh Fringe with the Beltane Public Engagement Network. It showed a new and improved version of Take Me I’m Yours which we have previosuly shown at the Expanded Narative Symposium and at Ubicomp.
Is Your Marmite Watching You? explored what it might be like when all of the objects in our lives become intelligent and talk to one another – and us. This ‘Internet of Things’ is currently being developed by technology companies. Will it threaten our relationships, or give us new opportunities?
The show was part of a wider series of events called the Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas which featured debate, discussion and discourse in the company of some of the fiercest intellects Scotland has to offer – in a yurt!
The Cabaret was curated by the Beltane Public Engagement Network, produced by Fair Pley, and compered by the comedian, presenter and festival director Susan Morrison. The first programme of the shows was performed at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2013. This year it involved researchers from the city of Edinburgh and beyond who create, write and perform individual shows, in which they try to make their expertise more accessible in a different context by discussing provocative and ‘dangerous’ topics. In 2014, there were 24 shows featuring researchers from the University of Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt, Edinburgh Napier, the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh and St Andrews University. A number of other organisations, including Planning Aid Scotland and Novo Science, were also participating. Further information: http://codi2014.beltanenetwork.org/
Is Your Marmite Watching You? is a show that features supermarket goods as actors. Using the publicly available smart phone app Take Me I’m Yours, human actors interact on stage with local products that are usually found in the cupboards and fridges of our kitchens.
This is the central skit:
Beyond the Supermarket was first performed at the Expanded Narrative symposium earlier this year: http://expandednarrative.org/symposium/ and introduced theatre goers to the secret lives and opinions of Marmite, sugar cubes and steel wool.
Rebecca Stafford wrote a good piece on the one-off show:
“New technology is being designed to ‘nudge’ us, to send some kind of physical reminder (noise, vibration etc.) for us to act in some way. For example, if we haven’t reached our exercise target for that day, we can be ‘nudged’ to encourage us to keep going until we have. This technology is being designed to change our behaviour in a good way but who decides what is good or bad? Who sets up the value data frame?
Additionally big corporations are starting to invest in this technology. Both Google and Apple have come under fire for tracking and collecting personal data. If such companies invest in household items which connect to the internet does this simply give them greater opportunities to gather our data? If technology is changing our behaviour and patterns of thinking who is really in control of it, the users or the big companies? In a bid to make our lives more efficient are we blindly buying into increased corporate influence and control?”
Rebecca Stafford http://www.scvo.org.uk/blog/the-internet-of-things-or-is-your-marmite-watching-you/
Special thanks to: Alison Trower, Stephen Alan Yorke, Susan Morrison and the folk at Edinburgh Beltane. Find out more about our performers below:
Alison Trower is a solo and collaborative artist creating within spoken word and performance. Her solo show, ‘The Template For Lack Of Conversation’ received four star reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe 2012. Alison works with actors and co-writers to create unusual and sometimes very experimental pieces of work. After a number of years working with script-writing, which began as writing for physical theatre, she is returning to creating and performing poetry, writing monologues for actors, and writing prose. Alison is collaborating with actor Terry Sweeney on co-writing her first feature length film. Alison has a great passion for the sciences as well as the arts and loves TED lectures and other forms of inspirational speaking. Alison likes to facilitate workshops in health and wellbeing, and is also a London based Interfaith minister, so, in her everyday life she is also known as the very Reverend Trower!
Stephen Alan Yorke is a comedy performer/writer, presenter and voice artist originally hailing from Bristol. After 19 years spent perfecting the ultimate comedy gimmick of a broad West Country accent, he headed for the golden streets of London where he now lives and performs. Steve’s versatile voice box has performed a huge range of accents and characters on voiceovers for a variety of national TV and radio commercials, he also writes and performs a regular show on comedy station Mansize Radio (www.mansizeradio.com) and is a member of improv group ‘All Made Up’ in the Clive Anderson-esque role of official compère. More of Steve’s work can be found on his website: www.stephenalanyorke.com