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Claude Nixon’s Twitter profile picture

17 October 2012

Skype interview-chat with new media artist and transmedia theatre-maker Marcus Lilley, creator and performer of the Something Perfectly Innocent (2012).

CHRISTINA PAPAGIANNOULI. How would you describe Something Perfectly Innocent performance?

MARCUS LILLEY. Something Perfectly Innocent was a five-day theatrical experience at the Anywhere Theatre Festival (http://anywherefest.com/blog/category/about/). The performance centred on a fictional city and a fictional character, Claude Nixon, who is moving to this fictional city and uses his Twitter feed (@claudenixon) to describe his surroundings, the people and events he sees. I call it theatrical, because it is unfolding in real-time in front of an audience (internet based), although the information is accessed via websites, mobile applications and tablet devices. Here are two references, the first from my own blog and the second an interview I gave to a digital agency in Australia:

http://marcuslilley.tumblr.com/somethingperfectlyinnocent

http://www.creativedrinks.com.au/archives/915

How did you come up with the idea of using the internet in your work? What was your inspiration, your starting point?

The idea of using Internet in my work came about in 2010 / 2011 when I first read an article in Wired Magazine and I felt that the idea of “transmedia” – which in essence is telling a story through multiple platforms – really tied the creative ideas I had in my mind together, such as the power of social networks, photography, film and mobile applications. It was a really interesting area that is evolving and developing very quickly, and it really struck a chord with me. By the use of the Internet I am able to develop my own ideas into a performance from a wide range of creative disciplines, such as modern art, black & white photography, film noir and music, and then during the performance I am able to act out the character. The roles of director and actor are not separate here, they are joined together, as I am fully embrace the characters and so I think and talk as them during the performance. Here are some examples of work that has inspired me:

http://www.imitatingthedog.co.uk/kellerman.asp 

http://www.imitatingthedog.co.uk/hotelMethuselah.asp  

http://proto-type.org/third-person-bonnie-clyde-redux/

http://proto-type.org/fortnight/

What is your relation with offline theatre?

I initially wanted to become an actor for the stage and so my degree is in Theatre Studies. During the early part of my career I performed in stage shows at University that used technology, such as video projections. Thus, my background is based around the classical and historical notions of what theatre “should be”. I have also worked with a number of youth based theatre organisations and worked for a number of theatre and creative institutions. The last theatrical institution I worked at was http://liveatlica.org/, which was my University (Lancaster, UK) on campus arts centre. I wanted to become an actor, but during University I felt I was moving more into the fields of writing, producing and developing ideas.

In your opinion, online performance director is closer to a theatre director or a film director?

In my opinion, and it is only an opinion, I do not see myself being close to a theatre / film director. It is more a case for me that is my view on the world and I feel closer to the notion of a visual artist than that of a film / theatre director.

Would you suggest that Internet is a tool or a space (cyberspace)?

It is a space for creative exploration through networking with other artists, venues, festivals and conferences and also a tool for what can facilitate in terms of allowing people to create products, such as videos, applications and e–books. In simple terms, yes it is a tool and a space. I use Internet as a tool to create the online persona of my characters, through Twitter, and also to create the instruments used in the performance, such as photos edited on an IOS Mobile app called Noir. Internet as a space is used to communicate what the performance is about to potential audiences through social networks, conversations over Skype and communication via email. Internet as a tool is the most appropriate tool for my creative work.

What are your future aims as an artist?

With each performance I always want to push on creatively and use new technologies in an interesting way that surprises people and gives audiences something that they are not able to get in their day-to-day lives. I would like to explore the possibility of using real locations and geo-tagging technologies and video more in future work.

Please feel free to make any comments you wish.

More than ever before Internet gives emerging artists of any age a platform to develop, promote and communicate their work. I think is extremely important to give artists from any background and discipline a platform to show their work. I would suggest artists to use Internet to develop their own ideas, not to think because one person has said it should be used in this way that you should use it in that way. Whatever your idea, vision or message you want to communicate, you can find the right platform for it. Creativity is a wonderful feeling and it should always be encouraged and nurtured and the Internet is a wonderful resource either as Research & Development, creation or promoting. If it is right for you, use it in the best way that suits you.

Interviewed by Christina Papagiannouli on 17 October 2012

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