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According to The New Audience Theory, audience members take information from the media and use their own identity and experiences to make sense of that information. Interpretations will always be slightly different from person to person; everyone has different experiences and cannot think in the same way as another. I know that truly understanding another person by seeing the world as they do is completely impossible. But, I want to try.
I have spoken to Annie for hours. The words you hear in this installation are such a small percentage of the conversations that I have had with her over the past year, but I hope they can in some way represent her internal voice.
You are invited to interact (or not) with this piece however you wish. You are invited to interact with this performance by changing your demeanor (or not) when you catch Annie watching and writing about you. You are invited to explore, discover, and observe (or not), in whatever manner you would like to portray yourself.
I want my audience to listen to Annie's story, to think of her as a person whose life has value and perhaps connection to theirs. I want them to read Annie's observations of the world around her and think about how they form opinions about others. I want them to share a part of themselves with the work, with Annie, with me, and come to peace with that act of sharing. I want them to become aware of their actions and bodies, aware that every move they make is a performance for the outside world, a presentation that shows those around them who they are and what they value. I want them to embrace and celebrate that performance, and even surprise me in their contribution to this work. I want them to understand that every person they come into contact with interprets those contributions differently. And I want them to read Annie's descriptions, laugh, and move on, recognizing that while we all have value and we are all connected to one another, we shouldn't necessarily take our performances too seriously. We are all watching one another, and at the same time watching no one but ourselves.
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Bump, Isabel Shuttleworth, "The New Audience Theory" (2016). Senior Projects Spring 2016. 247.
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