Adam Simon
Daniel Soltis

Rumplestiltskin (an Artefactual Performance)

An installation in which players of a video game find themselves inadvertently performing a narrative pantomime.

Performing Technology

Rumplestiltskin (an Artefactual Performance) combines a gesture-based video game with live performance. To the players, there are five levels of gameplay, but to the audience, these levels are the five acts of a pantomime of Rumplestilskin. The motivations of the actions in the video game are unrelated to the meanings of the actions in the performance.

The installation draws attention to how interacting with technology shapes our movements in ways that are often unnoticed or unacknowledged. It is also an exploration of performative cognition. How aware can the players be of their accidental performance whilst still adequately playing the game? Conversely, how well will they perform if they focus solely on the game?

Rumplestiltskin allows the players and audience to dynamically explore the boundaries between intended and choreographed movements and between performance and play.

The game takes place on a 4' by 8' stage. The stage contains a grid of 18 switches to track players' positions on the stage. The positions and motions of the players' hands are monitored with video tracking.

The front of the stage looks like the front of a proscenium stage. A screen facing the players displays the game and provides feedback to the players. A screen facing the audience provides some additional information (chapter titles, indications of the beginning and end of an act) so that audience members are better able to locate the performers' position in the story.