TRAFFIC

You’re not in traffic, you are traffic. Developed as a hybrid performance and interactive video game, TRAFFIC is your daily commute from hell. It’s bumper to bumper with no escape! Buckle in, because we’re all in this together, whether you like it or not!

Created by Christina Tang
In collaboration with Carsen Joenk and Anna Jazstrembski
Produced by Sami Pyne and Connor Scully
Performed by Joe Rivera, Nora Daly, and Aylin Eker
Videography by Jesse Itskowitz

Additional writing by friends: é boylan, Theresa Bucheister, Mercy Corredor, Raz Golden, Jesse Itskowitz, David Levitt, and Milo Longenecker

TRAFFIC is part live performance, part boardgame/textgame. Participants played a phone-app game that queued up moves for performers to execute. Results varied….

About the show:
I first read this article in spring of 2021, while the theater industry was chewing on the many inequities
that exist in the ‘traditional’ theater-making process and how to solve them. I was struck by the argument
that end-user-centric design was actually contributing to this problem — with our focus on the audience
experience, we obfuscate work, rigor, and effort to produce moments of ‘theater magic.’ I started seeing
analogs of this problem everywhere, where ego-centricity and/or user-centricity precluded empathy.
This project does not propose to solve any of those problems, because heck if I know (though I do think
about them often). Rather, it’s an experiment in dramatizing an exploding/expanding a point of view, using tools from live
performance and digital media. The strength of a live performance is intimate connection, between a performer and audience member. Digital media formats are personal, convenient, and agile, but easy to dissociate from.
In interweaving the two, the twin-headed concepts we are departing from are:

  • Using the format of the video game to present different points of view in increasing scale, both
    visually and textually, while de-centering the personalized, individual experience of a video game
    by framing it in a live event.
  • Using live performance to give literal voice to individual narratives while de-centering the
    protagonist expectation/convention of live performance, by asserting mediated formats as equal.

This livestream event was filmed at The Brick as part of Exponential Festival in January 25, 2022. It was performed live at The Brick on March 25 & 26 2022.

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