As will be clear from the definition of audience in other practices, it refers to a collective: either a collective that is conscious of its collected self, as in theatre or music, or completely unaware and dispersed, as in television. This makes it a problematic term in narrative environment design, where most often the environment is expected to be experienced on a one-to-one basis by individuals who do not perceive themselves as a collective. Terms from ‘visitor’ through to ‘perticipant’ are in this sense much less problematic. However, in some narrative environments, especially where multi user interaction is present, individual participants can fuse into an active collective. This relates to ‘audience participation’, which is long standing in the theatre, particularly since the 1960s. For example, “Akropolis” directed by Jerzy Grotowski: in it the company of actors (representing concentration camp prisoners) build the structure of a crematorium around the audience while acting out stories from the Bible and Greek mythology. Later, in “The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus” based on the Elizabethan drama by Marlowe, foregoing the use of props altogether, Grotowski let the actors’ bodies represent different objects, establishing an intimate dynamic of relation between actors and spectators by seating audience members as the guests at Faust’s last supper, with the action unfolding on and around the (human) table where they were seated. These kinds of theatrical performances can be viewed as antecedents to contemporary narrative interaction based design.
edited 7 September, 2016 by Admin