So what is the “interface” that best combines the ideas of live (as in alive), and space (both as in physical space and narrative space)? And what human activity is closest to the aspirations and practice of our original experience of democracy? Theatre!
It is surely no accident that the ancient and original sites of democratic debate were also those of theatre. Even today, should you chance on a live community debate on a matter of importance, you will experience first hand, the vitality of real human theatre. For my part this was what drew me first to the political sphere, having absolutely no interest in national party political politics.
Our second inspiration comes from the life long work of Augusto Boal, who sadly passed away in 2009. His work first in Forum Theatre and then finally with Legislative Theatre was always political (in it’s best sense), but never dull.
Theatre in this physical space, political sense, is the ideal interface to Latour’s Parliament of things in the epistemological sense. Theatre is spatial, embedded . The set of a theatre can incorporate, projection, video, sound, lighting – it is an informational space. It provides context to the debate.
Interactive, or improvised theatre, is also a debate, but more than a debate in the political sense, it captures potent ideas around the notions of expertise, skill, emotive communication, authenticity participation and engagement. It is controversial and playful. It is serious and informative. In the sense of theatrical space, the performance interface is the legal framework of the parliament. It is the written, spoken and unspoken culture of interaction in the space.