People Watching Station
Interactive Installation

 

Table, two chairs, pens, sheet with directions and questions to answer, binoculars tied to the table

Two garbage cans with labels

 

Participant can sit at one of two chairs. They have a set of binoculars, a pen and a sheet of questions in front of them. The instructions tell them to scan the room with the binoculars and choose someone that they are going to compare themselves to. Then answer the yes or no questions on the questionaire. Once they have answered them all, they are directed to put their answers in one of two garbage bins.

Garbage One labeled:  “I’m not sorry for judging you”

Garbage Two labeled:  “I’m sorry for judging you”

In the final step, they are directed to pick a piece of paper out of a box. Each paper has either a quoted insight and a few have a coupon/reward.  

This interactive installation takes something that humans do, compare themselves to others, and turns it into a more aware experience through art and fun. Because the questions are fun and the rewards and insights uplifting, it allows us to become more aware of how we judge others, without then judging ourselves too harshly for it. Awareness of how humans behave, at the most basic levels, is a good first step in learning how to better live with each other.

Photo Above: ©Fruhauf 2015. Behind the installation is a large Vinyl hanging artwork by Randolph MacMillan.

The People Watching Station was premiered and is part of STO Union’s touring production What Happened to the Seeker.

 

What Happened to the Seeker is the story of a female settler artist born in the middle of the revolutionary 1960s. Her world is propelled by its revolutionary vision and promise of liberation. But her story proves troubling. As she travels the infamous hippie trail in India in reverse, she finds her freedom through questionable transactions. The cost of her search has been on the backs of others, yet this inequity doesn’t seem to impact the outcome of the Seeker’s search. What Happened to the Seeker is an exploration into searching, what it costs and what it means to stop.

As the public enters the theatre, they are divided into three groups and are brought to one of three locations: a mini cinema where they are offered popcorn and watch a movie made with puppets; an exhibit of objects and texts with a fully functioning bar; or an audio experience with headphones. The groups travel from section to section. After a brief intermission, the audience returns to the main hall for the second half, a travelogue to India on video and a final performance.

Fiction and non-fiction blend, as do performance, visual arts, video, textiles, performance… all together. They weave a story with narrative threads that go back in time and emerge fully in the present—a full-on experience for a public that wants to wander.

Credits

  • Created by: Nadia Ross
  • In collaboration with George Acheson, Sarah Conn and Rob Scott
  • Director: Nadia Ross
  • Performers: Nadia Ross, Sarah Conn and George Acheson
  • Technical Director: Rob Scott
  • Lighting Design: Steve Lucas
  • Set Design:  Barry Padolsky
  • Videos: Nadia Ross and Rob Scott
  • Exhibit Items: STO Union and guests (please see catalogue for full credit list)
  • Original Music:  Wayne Hunter
  • Producer:  Nadia Ross
  • Touring Agent: Menno Plukker Theatre Agent Inc.
  • A STO Union production, in co-production with Festival TransAmériques (Montreal), The Theatre Centre (Toronto), BIT Teatergarasjen (Bergen, Norway), Brut Koproductionshaus (Vienna, Austria) and in association with the Wakefield Art Collective.

Touring History

  • Theatre Junction Grand//Calgary, Alberta//November 23 – 28, 2015
  • The Theatre Centre//Toronto, Ontario//October 1 – 3, 2015
  • Hebbel am Ufer//Berlin, Germany//June 18 – 20, 2015
  • Magnetic North Theatre Festival//Ottawa, Ontario//June 9 – 13, 2015
  • FTA Festival TransAmeriques//Montréal, Québec//2015 International Premiere May 27 – 29, 2015

Workshops and Development

Under workshop title: Intimacy with a Thousand Things
Meteor Festival, Bit Teatergarasjen//Bergen, Norway
Brut Kunstlerhaus //Vienna, Austria
ODD//Ottawa, Canada

Selected Press Reviews

“If what Nadia Ross does isn’t theatre, then give me less theatre — and more of this stuff, whatever you want to call it… (Ross) is kind
of a Canadian, female, progressive, theatre person version of screenwriter legend Charlie Kaufman”
Stephen Hunt (Calgary Herald) – one of the top ten shows of the year in Calgary.

“What Happened to the Seeker takes experimental performance to a new level”
Justin Borrow (The Theatre Reader) Toronto

“I love how this piece got me to question, wonder, ponder, observe, be open to suggestion and appreciate.”
Lynn Slotkin (The Slotkin Letter) Toronto

“What Happened to the Seeker … is the biggest and most successful risk in this year’s Magnetic North Theatre Festival”
Jonas McLean (New Ottawa Critics) Ottawa

“It would be easy to let the bitterness and quest for serenity disconnect and dismiss the culture as we find it. Instead the final words are the words of the future, spoken by the newer voices. This gesture is one of profound grace and hopefulness. Exactly as expected from STO Union – grace and hope where none might be predicted.”
Jacob Zimmer (Small Wooden Shoe)

“…Everything shifts when Nadia Ross appears. It takes only a few seconds for us to become captivated by her voice, her undeniable presence.”
Lucie Renaud (Revue Jeu) Montreal

“What Happened to the Seeker shows us a high level of originality on the level of form. The presentation surprises and succeeds in arousing our curiosity on the path that Nadia Ross has followed.”
Genevieve Germain. (Montheatre.qc.ca) Montreal

“The show is a bit like a warm, friendly hug and a reminder that peace can be found among the chaos and that it’s okay to lie down for a little while but eventually, you just have to keep going.“
Diane Lachapelle (Apt 613) Ottawa