In this project, we will present interpretations of Othello with aleatoric music and explore the concept of ‘Trial and Error’ by definition of artistic experimentation through the theme of judicial ‘Trials’ and the potential ‘Errors’ in judgement. We have chosen this theme because through this wordplay, we envision the possibility of exploring the concept of ‘trial and error’ in an expansive way, highlighting the relevance of trial and error in art to other facets of life.
The installation consists of an ‘O’ shaped booth with speakers attached inside. Each individual speaker will broadcast the testimonial voices of characters in Shakespeare’s well-known play, Othello: Desdemona, Emilia, Cassio and Iago. Each individual character’s voice is accompanied by music underlining their emotionality. Visitors enter the booth and portray Othello in the role of judgment maker. Pressure sensors on the floor manipulate the speakers, causing variations in the mixing and composition of the music. In this way, the experience is dependent on the mental and physical standpoint of each visitor and this allows each visitor to experience an original soundscape through interactive variations in the mixing and music composition. In order to arrive at his/her final standpoint, the visitor is required to experiment with standing locations from which the ‘testimonies’ of each character can be most effectively associated and empathized with in an exercise of trial and error.
By reimagining central tenets of the play, we intend to erect a container as our artistic vessel and as an homage to its eminent theatre-related cultural and architectural associations – the ‘O.’ Embedded within traditional Elizabethan theatre is the concept of the alphabet ‘O’ that has become eponymous with Shakespeare’s legacy as well as its ensuing reinterpretations.
The container, envisioned as a cylindrical booth featuring strategically placed speakers around the interior, will feature a theatrically evoking soundscape that involves voices and sounds depicting Othello’s main characters, self-generated by the visitor according to where they choose to stand. We plan to invite audiences to freely inhabit the space and experience a themed judicial narrative whilst enjoying its variable musical elements based on their chosen geographical position in the booth and psychological condition. Ultimately, the decision-making lays in the audience’s hands, with every step taken leading to a different artistic and sonic interpretation that culminates from their willingness to engage in the process of trial and error.