Copyright 2021 © The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL
‘Theatricality appears to be an almost fantastical cognitive operation set in motion either by the observer or the observed. It is a performative act creating the virtual space of the other […] allowing both the performing subject as well as the spectator to pass from “here” to “elsewhere”.’
‘Theatricality: The Specificity of Theatrical Language’, Josette Féral and Ronald P. Bermingham, 2002.
Based on Adolfo Bioy Casares’s 1940 novel The Invention of Morel, Inhibition is an immersive performance that questions conventional theatre by dissolving the roles of performers and audience. The narrative unfolds in three parts following the journey of the main character, who confronts the limits of his perception and consciousness. Participants experience a deserted island and are challenged to rethink their subjective reality. A combination of virtual reality (VR) technology, biofeedback, and multilayered audiovisual stimuli encapsulates the dynamic relations between physical and virtual, actual and fictional. Responding to the alienation between body and physical space often felt in VR, Inhibition seeks to reconcile this split by integrating participants’ biodata into the creation of the visual landscape. The VR user and two further participants constantly reshape the inhabited space as biodata and movement affect the VR world. As a shared immersive experience, Inhibition invites the audience to explore their sense of agency as performers.
The performance combines immersive storytelling with VR technology and biofeedback to question the relationship between audience and performers.
The VR participant is inside the mirrored cube, exploring and affecting the VR environment with her biofeedback. The observers explore the space projected on two screens.
Visualisation of the observer’s heartbeat and movements in space, captured by a RealSense camera and a heartbeat sensor.
In the last scene, the mirrored cube becomes transparent, revealing the VR user to the observers.