Incorporating human dramatization and technology is nothing new to artist Xavier Cha – see Disembodied Selfie. Cha’s latest project, Fruit Machine 2: Synesthesia, is a sequel to her first performance Fruit Machine 1 which took place last year at ICA Philadelphia. This latest project will be taking place at The New Museum Theater on December 20th and 21st with costumes by Eckhaus Latta, a score by Aaron David Ross, and Fruit Machine App development by Samuel Cormier — make sure to buy your tickets!
Fruit Machine 2: Synesthesia will be mechanized by the programming of a digital application developed to randomly select whose “turn” it is in part 2 of this abstracted game show. One of two alternating emcees or hosts (one a hearing actor, the other a deaf actor) will either orate or sign with dramatic affect, a text vividly descriptive with aural, spatial, and visual imagery. The projected application (somewhat like lottery balls exploding with a combined aesthetic of the video games, Candy Crush, Bejeweled and Fruit Ninja) draws from a pool of 2 blind actors, one sighted and hearing actor, and 2 deaf actors each paired with an ASL interpreter/actor, all seated until selected in a separate space. The text will be assimilated and performed by the randomly selected actor (“contestant” or “fruit”) until it has been transmitted through each actor or pair, then the game is reset into the next round with the delivery of a new text by the alternate emcee. The selected actor will do his or her best to re-present the prior performance, retaining not only the words and information relayed, but more importantly, the texture and character of the delivery and performance. Here the interest is in channeling the psychic essence of gesture and language rather than literal meaning. Funneled through a chain of highly specified perceptions, sensitivities, experience and subjective sensations, the mutability of language transmutes and evolves as it is passed from spoken English to ASL and back through seven contestants in the Fruit Machine.