|2016||Alison S. M. Kobayashi,Christopher Allen|
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“All of my previous work included putting myself in other people’s shoes and imagining who they were. For the most part, it’s been a work of imagination or fiction; I never got to the point of researching people. In this piece, I thought it would be really helpful if I could try and find out, who these characters were.”
Alison S. M. Kobayashi, Author
Say Something Bunny! is an immersive performance piece that is based on a found amateur audio recording by a New York family from the 1950s. A collaboration between Alison S.M. Kobayashi and Christopher Allen, the project unpacks a family history, the spirit of an era, and the affordances of a now-obsolete media technology–wire recorder–through archival research, textual analysis, reenactment, and speculation.
The piece is performed by Kobayashi who annotates the conversations on the wire recorder with her own narrative as detective-artist. She tells the story of her discovery of the recorder and the six years of research during which she traced every bit of clue in the audio. Seated around a custom-made roundtable with a hollow center–Kobayashi performs inside and around the table–the audience follows the recorded conversations with the aid of a script that is also annotated with Kobayashi’s research findings. The table is equipped with mobile phone-size screens that prompt the audience to turn the page, and sometimes present videos and animations. Semi-fictional reenactments, documentary scenes, texts, archival materials, and live feed of Kobayashi’s performance appear on an immersive screen on the wall, adding another layer to the narrative. Lights, audio, projection and screens follow hundreds of automated cues creating a seamless experience, while Allen plays the role of a silent MC who keeps all the moving parts in sync.