REMOTE asks you to imagine the theatre of the future, powered by algorithms

British theatre-makers Coney have launched a Kickstarter campaign for

REMOTE, described by the company as “a playful parable about freedom of choice and the future, and the human impact of the pervasive systems governing our lives”.

REMOTE asks you to imagine the theatre of the future, powered by algorithms

The production will see audience members collectively play a woman, making binary decisions by raising a card (or not raising a card) over the course of three time periods – one, five and 100 years in the future, during which the world may or may not end.remote_coney

REMOTE plays like a game where you, the audience, are inside a system offering you choice,” says Coney director Tassos Stevens.

That choice may not be as clear-cut as it first seems. Natalie Adams, general manager of the company, says the play “is about companies like Uber and Amazon, and about how you can’t always get what you want”.

Coney has a target of £3,000 in its campaign, more details of which can be found here.

Deciding to obey

The politics of choice and its relationship to new technology is also tackled by RUNHORATIO’s XNN Systems: The Forest, currently playing as part of The Vault festival in London. Without giving too much away about the production, it casts the audience as participants in a self-described “immersive, therapeutic, multi-sensory test”.  

The Forest effectively turns its human audience into subservient nodes, encouraged forward by icily flirtatious X-NN guides and punished for not following instructions. There isn’t much in the way of explicit narrative, but the show is affecting in how it makes the prospect of relinquishing control seem appealing. You quickly become accustomed to having your every movement monitored, and the subsequent smiles that come from staying in line.

In both The Forest and Coney’s plans for REMOTE, the audience member is a node – given the illusion of choice but part of a larger system exterior to their control. In a world with seemingly limitless options at our fingertips, they ask questions about what it means to choose.

READ NEXT: Does digital technology have a place on the stage?

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