Co-conceived by John Collins, Mark Hansen, Ben Rubin and Jer Thorp
A collaboration of The Office for Creative Research and Elevator Repair Service
Project Manager Sarah Hughes
Presented as part of the Museum of Modern Art's Artists Experiment, April 2015
With Kate Benson, Lindsay Hockaday, Mike Iveson, Vin Knight, Gavin Price, Ben Williams
The Office for Creative Research (OCR) was co-founded by Mark Hansen, Ben Rubin and Jer Thorp as a hybrid research group working at the intersection of technology, culture and education. They build user-focused tools, public space interventions and forward-looking prototypes in the service of understanding and humanizing complex data systems.
While at OCR in 2014 and 2015, Sarah Hughes helped the company produce several works, including a large-scale immersive live performance in collaboration with Elevator Repair Service (ERS) and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). This piece, called A Sort of Joy (Thousands of Exhausted Things), used information from MoMA’s 123,951-item collections database as the source material for its script, exploring the Museum’s past and present exhibitions. A variable performance script was delivered to actors electronically as they roamed throughout the second floor galleries of the museum. Artwork titles, artist names, materials and dimensions all became fodder for exchanges between performers; this spoken text and the ambient sound that accompanied was is experienced through wireless stereo headphones worn by audience members. The performance took the form of an extended audio tour in which the patterns, idiosyncrasies and secrets of this enormous database were revealed to museum-goers, and the database itself took its place in the galleries alongside the very artworks it contains. Every word spoken during the performance came directly from the database.
Directed by John Collins
Software Design & Operation by Mark Hansen, Ellery Royston, Jer Thorp
Sound Design by Ben Rubin
Stage Manager Mo Lioce
Photos by Manuel Martagon & Ben Rubin.