Here’s a little thing from the fringes of the Free Thinking Festival this year. If you don’t want to read what’s below, skip to their interview here.
Human Aquarium is … well .. what is it exactly? It’s a box. That’s what it is. A box packed full of computer and projection equipment with two people sat inside looking out through a perspex screen to a bemused looking crowd the other side.
One of the pair – Guy Schofield (below) – operates the ‘machinery’. The other – Robyn Taylor (above) – sings a long drawn out melody into a microphone.
There’s a technical chappy too – that’s John Shearer (below). He, like me, looks on at the assembled crowd who in turn look on the whole thing with a mixture of bemusement and excitement.
Unlike me, however, he does from time to time touch the perspex screen while Robyn and Guy perform inside their box amid temperatures approaching a stifling 40 degrees. No wonder their sets extend only to 20 minutes a time. By touching the perspex screen John like any member of the audience helps create the performance. The fingers on the perspex influences the computer-generated sounds. I don’t know how exactly, but it does. And, in a space like Sage, Gateshead it’s quite a wondrous thing to experience. Not least because the sight of it draws you and others in. And as soon as that happens you’re entranced.
One night only at the BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival. No matter though. I talked to them for ten minutes about their work. And what a smashing bunch they are too.
And there’s even some hastily shot video of their performance too.