Loving Things is a quirky and slow-burning theatre performance presented as an album of videos. Unfolding through a sensory exploration of objects, this largely textless performance contributes to urgent discussions of ecology and sustainability through an often-neglected angle: that of the inanimate object.
Loving Things questions the human-centric approach we take toward “inanimate” things. On stage, the performer interacts with objects such as fruit, plastic bags, and balloons. Playfulness meets a sense of the sacred as audience members are led to focus on objects taken out of human contexts and functions, as things with their own “lives”.
Loving Things is ultimately loving, welcoming, and hopeful. It sees the darkness of things right now, but believes in our ability to empathize and extend care toward nonhuman and inanimate things. If we set aside our sense of superiority as human beings, we will see how precious and powerful objects are, too.
The research and theoretical foundation of Loving Things may sound complicated, even intimidating. But the show aims to create access by translating theories surrounding environmentalism, new materialism, and Object-Oriented Ontology into an accessible experience. It seeks to bring experimental performance to mass audiences through entrancing experiments on stage.
Loving Things proposes a new vision of the world, where we co-exist with objects in more thoughtful and loving ways.
Originally a physically-ticketed performance, Loving Things decided to go online due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. The show is now an album of videos hosted online for download. Accompanying the main performance video are “b-side” videos which can be considered standalone pieces, but also form integral parts of the whole performance.
Loving Things, then, is not a theatrical performance presented as a single video, but a show only completed through the coming together of all the videos in the album. Like things and objects, its meaning is derived from assemblage and amalgamation. This applies as well to understanding each other and the world at large. We need to encounter many approaches and viewpoints, so as to truly engage and empathize.
The format of Loving Things sits at the overlaps of a few categories: performance, theatre, video, film, music. In a way it’s Frankenstein-esque in its medium, an experiment in how to present performance work when time and space are no longer available to us.
As COVID-19 pushed us into digital space, we began with the intention of making the show virtual. But we didn’t want to do so merely as a concession, as a “bo pian” translation of our show that didn’t account for the specific time-space qualities of digital and video space.
As the show developed, the strain of translation eventually pushed us to the album structure, because Loving Things as a performance resists the ways in which time and space work on video. As such, instead of a single video, we looked at having the performance be made up of multiple videos instead. Each video would stand on its own, but also form part of a greater whole.
Borrowing the container of a music album as a means of structure, and a means of communicating that structure to you, Loving Things is now an album of videos that together form a performance, or more simply, a performance album.
We hope the sequencing of “tracks”, and the gaps between them, gives you room to make more meaning from it. And we hope gives the work greater room to breathe as a live performance with all its liveness set aside.