SLEEP NO MORE and the Immersive Exhibition

Michael Epstein, Untravel Media, USA

The 2013 Conference ended with a call to consider exhibits that entrance visitors like SLEEP NO MORE. Making use of sound, dance, identity, intimacy, and elements of the Western canon of literature. How can such a performance become an exhibit in a major museum? This panel will examine bold new exhibits that try and form this entranced, intimate experience with audiences.

Potential projects include:

-Exploratorium: Living Innovation Zones. This 2-year installation on Market St. in San Francisco combines participatory science, crowd interaction, and street theater in a city-sponsored public space.

-Recalling 1993: Droga5’s exhibit that turned hundreds of NYC payphones into geolocated timecapsules for the exhibit at the New Museum.

These are just a couple of leading examples of an overall trend that will be examined in depth by panelists coming from the advertising, exhibit, and theater worlds. The panel will follow up on some of the key questions sparked by the SLEEP NO MORE keynote, including:

1. Budgets: how is an ongoing performance staged, rehearsed and supported?
2. Crowd involvement: how is the audience as a character further developed? What collateral is needed to full immerse and activate them in such participatory theater experiences?
3. Storyline: what kind of story arcs are necessary to drive audience interest? How can multiple story threads be woven and still lead to satisfying ends?

The panel will pull examples from their own work and inspiring work in the wake of SLEEP NO MORE to explore both successful and problematic adaptations of immersive theater into the museum space.

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