In this exposition we recall and reflect upon an artistic process in which we have sketched out some ideas about how “rituality” can be used for the purpose of interactive enhancement, how “distortion” can be linked to memorable characterization, and how opera can be used as method for distortion. It is a collection of remarks and material from the initially disrupted production of one particular opera, connecting our intentions as artistic contributors to emergent features of the work, spanning the period of 2019 to 2022. Please note that the exposition consists of thematic glimpses from an artistic process and it is not supposed to display the resulting public performances of the opera per se.
The purpose of putting the exposition together has not primarily been to present a thorough review or problematization of the notions that have informed our practice. Rather, we have wanted to give a picture of how these concepts apply to the specific opera at hand. We have asked: How can microsocial rituals connected to a specific site be used as interaction templates for artistic purposes? And how can we distort such rituals artistically in order to make them memorable events?
The exposition takes form not as a mono-linear text, but as a reference document with three entries and a separate introduction page. The page titled “Template rituals” concerns the interaction design underpinning the operatic work. “Distorted rituals” explains the aesthetic aims of our artistic practice. And “Rituals behind the scenes” is an account of some issues that occurred during programmatic rehearsals and preparations.
About the production:
The exposition contains material collected during the operatic production Chronos’ Bank of Memories in Halmstad, 2019–2022. It includes documentation (photos and audio/video recordings) of sites, props, characters, rehearsals and performances. The opera in question was produced by the independent opera company Operation Opera and our roles were those of librettist/director and set designer. The exposition includes our personal notes about how our practice relates to the use of rituals as both mnemonic and interactive features of the artistic work. As co-authors, we combine perspectives on opera from the fields of performance practices, design, and informatics. Some documentation of parts of the opera is also displayed in the Research Catalogue exposition Arcade: A Guide to the Operas in the Doctoral Project “An Operatic Game-Changer” by Hedvig Jalhed, but the artistic process that we track in relation to rituals and distortion is not mentioned there. We are most grateful for having been granted opportunities to document the ensemble’s work between 2019 and 2022. The ensemble members are Mattias Petersson (complete production), Daniel Hjorth (complete production), Qarin Wikström (complete production), Anna Thuström (complete production), David Hornwall (complete production), Linus Flogell (2019–2020 only), John Kinell (2022 only), and Jonatan Sersam (2022 only).