Eavesdrop

Project Overview

  1. Jeffrey Shaw, David Pledger
  2. 2004
  3. Interactive Installation

Presented in a 360 degree purpose-built cinematic environment, ten people are forever doomed to repeat nine minutes of their lives. Exploring terrain that is at once spiritual, moral, ethical, psychological and physical, this ingeniously crafted artwork is driven by any member of the public who, as the free radical user-director, reveals the secrets embedded in the interconnected stories.

eavesdrop_interface
Eavesdrop operated using platform-module

Video documentation

Eavesdrop is a multi-narrative mediation of psychological states in and around the theme of moral inertia. The stories take their cue from middle Australia and talk around, speak to, allude and confront a certain condition of morality.

The characters are all caught in a loop wherein they are doomed to repeat a certain nine minutes of their lives. Each narrative (life) emphasises a spiritual, moral, ethical, psychological or physical landscape: A young man tries to escape the suburbs; a minor celebrity wrestles with his conscience; an elderly couple work out how they might end their lives; a political activist is intent on a new revolution; two young boys enact negligence upon themselves; a woman uses cosmetic surgery to find an identity, a middle-aged man is undone by the grief of unrequited love.

The stories play out in a literal-metaphorical space, at once a club and a purgatory. Some of the characters have been here a long time, and their familiarity with their surroundings is telling. Others have only just arrived and they play their immediate passing over and over again in search of some flicker of awareness. The stories are interconnected through their unity of time and place, and in some cases there are direct narrative cross-overs. A band plays throughout the nine minute duration, and the patrons are obliged to participate in singing-and-dancing choruses. A waiter provides a unifying presence in all the narratives and sometimes he is simultaneously present in several of the narratives. He is the agent of a space that is the central character of the project.

Special to this space is the ability to enter into the private, interior landscapes of each of the characters. These interior landscapes convey a compressed sense of the emotional states the characters are experiencing. Get too close to any of the characters and the spectator will be bumped into this interior life without warning.

In this way, Eavesdrop is intended to work on three layers: the interior landscapes of the characters, their public narratives, and the engagement with the spectator through the simple interactive medium of zoom and pan functions on a platform-module that the user employs to navigate the space.