“Yes, And…”

Megan Finley and Alex Vernon (A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning), Sydney Gembka (School of Music, Theatre & Dance)

“Yes, And…” explored the intersection of architecture and performance in an attempt to understand the interconnectedness of each discipline. The end result paved the way for a larger concept – a website that hosts live performances across many disciplines.

We arranged our project around three core questions: Do we perceive sound differently when its visual context changes? Can performers react and adjust within a changing space? Does the audience always need to be a passive entity in performances? Each of these questions was fueled by the current pandemic and the nature of space, sound, and accessibility to performance.

Similar to “telephone,” our musician created 8 sounds from different environments and household items. WIthout any other information than the sounds, our architects designed 8 digital spaces based on what they heard. These spaces were then shared with a composer who composed a piece, with each movement corresponding with a space. Each space was promoted on Instagram a day before the live event. Our followers voted for the spaces and sounds they wanted to hear played. This created the elements of chance and audience influence, with the idea that every performance of the piece is unique. A room, projector, camera, and speaker system were used to project our virtual spaces onto the performer and play our sounds on top of the composition. A four-minute long, live performance was held on Twitch and Instagram, based on a prior poll of scenes and sounds on our Instagram story.

We found that this performance would work best within its own website. Audience members would be able to change the environment and overlay sounds. With a different composition, the performer could have the opportunity to adapt to their surroundings and allow for more audience influence. Ultimately we created a chance- and experiential-based performance style that allows architecture, sound, and audience, to intersect in a new way.