The Prague Summer Theatre School

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Technology as Writing Partner

Learn a cutting-edge method of performative creative writing based on human-computer interaction.

You will learn to "write with your voices" (as opposed to typing on a keyboard) using speech recognition software. We will take turns saying impromptu lines out loud into a microphone. The computer will recognize the lines with varying accuracy and turn the speech into text on the computer screen. You will develop a set of improvisational tools to enhance dramatic writing utilizing the computer's errors (misrecognitions) in collaboration with other students. You will be confronted with situations requiring quick decision-making because the computer does not reproduce your speech with 100% accuracy — a fact that will challenge you to deal with technological dysfunction in the here-and-now of a performative writing situation. Also, you will be challenged to listen and respond to your human writing partners and their texts. Through guided practice, you will learn to take the writing process in unexpected directions, further into an improvisational realm.

While practicing this collaborative, performative, live writing method with human and computer partners, we will work toward creating short fictional scenes. The scenes will be based on dramatic situations that we will come up with together through rehearsals and discussion. In addition to this practical work, we will spend time discussing readings of relevant texts (live writing, new technology, human-computer interfaces and drama).

At the end of the intensive, we will present a live, performative writing event, in which you will have the opportunity to perform those aspects of the writing method that you find most compelling. The showing will be planned and performed collaboratively. At the end of this course, you will have the tools to continue exploring the relationship of text, digital media, and performance in your own work.

Please note that no special computer skills are required.

See: //vimeo.com/huopaniemiotso

Schedule

June 13th to 15th, 2014. You may also take any Three-Week Course

Teacher

Otso Huopaniemi, MA, MFA, is a Finnish playwright, director, dramaturge, artistic researcher and teacher who has shown work internationally including PS122 (NYC); 3LD Art & Technology Center (NYC); Kiasma Theater (Helsinki); ZKM Center for Art and Media (Karlsuhe, Germany); Theaterdiscounter (Berlin). He has received grants for artistic projects (e.g. love.abz and The Finnish Mafia in the Bronx) and academic studies in Finland and the USA (Fulbright, Wihuri, Thanks to Scandinavia, Finlandia Foundation, Finnish Cultural Foundation, Arts Promotion Center Finland, Huber, Kone, among others). He has collaborated with various artists and companies including: Juha-Pekka Hotinen, Juha Hurme, Kimmo Kahra (Finland); Anna Brenner, Jess Smith, Kon Yi, Elevator Repair Service (USA); Josep Caballero Garcia, Lee Meir, and Ania Nowak (Germany).

He has taught dramaturgy and directing students at the Theater Academy Helsinki (part of University of the Arts Helsinki since 2013), and live writing at ZKM Center for Art and Media. He has also worked as teaching assistant in the Finnish Studies Program at Columbia University (NYC), as well as production assistant for American playwright Edward Albee. Otso has been writing plays, directing and creating performances in various capacities since 1997, gradually moving from the staging of written texts to writing-in-performance using the technique that he has developed in collaboration with performers from different artistic and geographic backgrounds. He received his MA in dramaturgy from the Theatre Academy Helsinki, studying under Pirkko Saisio, Juha-Pekka Hotinen, and Kaisa Korhonen; and his MFA in playwriting from Columbia University, where he studied under Charles Mee, Kelly Stuart, and Anne Bogart. Otso is currently working on a new version of his performance love.abz, to be premiered in Germany in 2014/15. He is also working on a site-specific piece called Arboretum, which involves performing plants, synthetic voices, and translated text.

Photo: Performing love.abz, based on live writing with technology at Kiasma Theatre, Kiasma Museum for Contemporary Art, Finnish National Gallery, 2013.