Screens / by Lenni Sanders

Screens are everywhere in modern life, from advertising screens that scan the crowd to know what products might be most profitable to show to the reassuring glow of a mobile phone close to your face just before you go to sleep at night. Partly why we like to use screens and recorded video elements in some of our work is because we are very interested in the strangeness of modern life and the role technology plays within it. So far we use standard sized computer monitor screens but screens of different sizes are something it would be very interesting to explore.

In Empty Kitchen at Contact earlier this year we used video content on screens to suggest a metaphorical link between the props on the table, the spoken word we were performing, and what was shown on the screens, creating a sensory overload, and a kind of synaesthesia, where the senses blur and are woven into each other.

Screens are visual snacks. Like a bowl of popcorn in your lap, even if there’s something else you’re already paying attention to (like a conversation) you just keep dipping back. This is another thing we like about screens: their capacity to catch the eye with flashes of movement and colour, and deliver a quick shot of information or suggest almost subconsciously a mood or an idea. Screens have dominated media since the 20th century and will continue to do so until something else supersedes them, which at this point seems unlikely, because the appeal of the visual is so strong. When the next technology comes along, the next form of multimedia performance will integrate it. It’s difficult and exciting to imagine what it will look like.