In this project – ‘The Story of The Panda Bear Told by a Saxophonist who has a Girlfriend in Frankfurt’, I created a physical world to study the effects of using virtual spaces and social media on the experience of seeing. This project links photography and theatre together with live performance of audiences and image staging, which was created by photos taken and uploaded by participants. This project in its experimental aspects allows the audiences to improvise the digital space of the stage to add a dimension to the story. Participant, in this project, is playing the ‘leading role’ but a non-identity character, anonymous person, and a consumer of goods, ideas and images, same as people in post-industrial societies. These social and artistic experiments influence the direction of drama in this project and bring new values to the design and practice.
‘The Story of the Panda Bear…’ by Matei Visniec is about the nine nights of enigmatic courtship between HIM and HER. At the morning HIM wakes up and finds himself naked with HER in the bed, and they start a question and answer dialogue like “Who are you?” “Did we know each other?” “What is your name?” “Did we make love” and so on. Finally they agree, HER comes back nine other nights and after that nothing will happen. In many religions, nine is the symbol of perfection and during the play after each day their relationship becomes closer to perfection. But at the end, we realize that he was dead and all these events are his imaginations after or at the moment of his death. So I chose this play because this duality between real and unreal and how the attendees, during each day can question whether everything was real, imagined or a dream. In this project, it is supposed that the imagination acts like a ladder to the unseen world.
The event was not about ‘The Story of the Panda Bear…’ but it was about itself, its livelihood. It was about the experience of using smartphones, capturing photos and uploading them on Instagram. And in fact, the performance started before the entrance of participants in the theatre hall, when I asked them not only do not turn off your phones but also take photos and sign in to a particular the Instagram account for uploading them during the play. Nowadays, we are living in a society with high rate of consumption and production. And in the performance, participants produced and consumed the photos until reaching the limit of the Instagram for the number of daily uploads.