CURATED – ANT HAMPTON – EXTRA PEOPLE

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> > > CURATOR: ASH BULAYEV (COMMISSIONED WORK)

> > > ARTIST: ANT HAMPTON 

THE EXTRA PEOPLE
 An automated, voice-directed system borrowed from warehouse management changes voices and becomes a child. The great void of a large and dormant theatre is turned into a ‘space for production’. An audience are cast as extras, given flashlights and high-visibility vests, and cycled through the ‘production’ in groups of fifteen: 30 mins in the seats, 30 on stage. The concatenated, synthetic and at times melancholic voice guiding them (via binaural recordings in their headphones) seems to come from speakers in the room, audible to everyone. 

But nothing is shared. Collectivity is illusion, and this audience is atomised, adrift or apparently asleep among both seating and stage, plugged into separate audio streams, awaiting the call for what seems to be a rehearsal for abandonment, a trying-on of powerlessness. Things seem both alien and familiar, like a dream mixing past experience with anticipated trauma. Is it the system dreaming, or the ‘extras’ within it – or both?

As the operations shift from obtuse attempts at functionality to an incongruous interest in sentience and interiority, so the dynamic seems less top-down than inside-out: a decidedly non-efficient, looping and hallucinatory or dementia-ridden process, wherein roles of attendant and dependent switch as easily as the flashlights changing hands. 

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written and directed by Ant Hampton

sound design and composition – Sam Britton 

artistic advice – Kate McIntosh

editing / system design / tech director – Hugh Roche Kelly

early development / brainstorming at Empac – Geoff Sobelle and Trey Lyford

assistance at EMPAC – Julia Asharaf 

commissioned by Ash Bulayev / Empac

Creative producer – Katja Timmerberg

Extra People was commissioned by EMPAC (Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, USA)

with coproduction from Kaaitheater (Brussels) and Malta Festival (Posnan)

supported by the Culture Program of the European Commission via the House on Fire network

Extra support from French Institute Alliance Française (NYC), Kingsfountain (Paris)

Ant Hampton (British, b.1975 Fribourg, Switzerland). Also known as Anthony  / Anton. Ant made his first show as Rotozaza in 1998, a project which ended up spanning performance, theatre, installation, intervention and writing-based works, and often focussing on the use of instructions given to unrehearsed ‘guest’ performers, both on stage and in public settings, as detailed here. Rotozaza became a partnership with Silvia Mercuriali, and ended in 2009 after their last production Etiquette, which was also the first Autoteatro ‘show’. Since then Ant has worked with Glen Neath, Joji KoyamaIsambard KhroustaliovTim EtchellsGert-Jan Stam and Britt Hatziusto create the work detailed here – over 48 different language versions exist of the various productions created so far.  Other solo projects include ongoing experimentation around ‘live portraiture’ as The Other People (La Otra Gente): structured encounters with people from non-theatrical milieu. He was head dramaturge for ‘Projected Scenarios’ at Manifesta7 Biennial for Contemporary Art and has contributed to projects by Jerome Bel and Forced Entertainment. Prior to their recent collaborations (‘The Quiet Volume’, and ‘Lest We See Where We Are’) Ant worked with Tim Etchells for the 2009 ‘fantasy-protest’ programme of live-art for the ICA, ‘True Riches’. His 2005 collaboration with Britt Hatzius, ‘This Site Could Be Yours’ involved invitations to over 20 artists and writers in a reflection on site-specific performance, photography and feasibility, and continues to produce off-shoots including a workshop, ‘Fantasy Interventions – Writing for Site-Specific Performance’. Ant has also worked as coach / mentor for artist programmes such as MAKE (Ireland), A-PASSSound Image Culture (Beligum) and, most recently in late 2013,Dasarts (Netherlands) where in collaboration with Edit Kaldor he designed and mentored a 10-week block, ‘Every Nerve’.

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