Oracle — Alt-text or the Future

Alt-text (or alternative text) is closed-captioning for the internet. It provides a text-based description of visual content and is used by screen reading software to help visually impaired users navigate content.

The Oracle (or, Alt-Text for the Future) composes a visual art form (choreography) through language, allowing audiences to narrate the action on stage as an act of predictive alt-choreography.

PHASE: A preview of Oracle was performed at MANA Contemporary in June 2019.

Questions we asked.
Can we describe what we see with only words? Possibly. Probably not. Can language alter our experience of what we see? Maybe. Probably yes. Can we describe what we want and make it so, simply by saying it out loud?

How it works.
From their phones, audiences choose words and phrases that in turn describe, request, command and narrate the action unfolding before them. How the performers choose to respond is up to them.

The piece unfolds in a loop of 4 sections that occur 4 times with the narration evolving along with the choreography to highlight how tiny variations in language result in big differences in meaning. Agree. You agree? Please agree.

The behind the scenes role of Oz was played by Nuntinee Tansrisakul.

Special thanks to Jordan Rickman, Sebastian Morales and MANA Contemporary.

Photographs courtesy of Tachpasit Kunaporn.