WITNESS – MFA thesis

May 2018

Drawing upon the language and mythology of UFO sightings, the piece questions our beliefs regarding the nature of unexplainable encounters. Equally informed by the investigative journalism of Leslie Kean, the writings of Keith Thompson and Donna Haraway, and the influence of sacred geometry, WITNESS calls us to look upon these encounters in a new light, as potentially panpsychic experiences that bring us closer to understanding our role in the interstellar community. Recent coverage by The New York Times and the Boston Globe has revealed longstanding secret government programs collecting evidence of encounters, but they have been wary to acknowledge their presence. Why wait so long to reveal these secrets? Why be embarrassed by what you cannot explain? Why fear the unknown?

Interactive video feedback systems, sound and light controlled/modulated by brainwave synthesis, and unmemorized in-ear invocations accumulate to create a zone where the material is largely improvised but emphatically programmed. Join us within this zone of uncertainty, and become a WITNESS to what you never thought you’d believe.

Both sold out performances of WITNESS were presented at JACK in Clinton Hill, Brookyln. JACK is an OBIE-winning 50-seat performance venue led by Alec Duffy. Duffy founded JACK in 2012 in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn with several co-founders. They present over 200 theater, music and dance performances a year and hold community forums on racial justice, gentrification, and police/community relations. ​Their mission is to fuel experiments in art and activism, collaborating with adventurous artists and our neighbors to bring about a just and vibrant society.  

WITNESS was developed at Brooklyn College as a thesis project for the Performance and Interactive Media Arts (PIMA) MFA program. PIMA provides students with training, theoretical and technical knowledge, and practical experience in the conceptualization and production of collaborative, multi-disciplinary artworks.

John Gasper is a theatermaker, musician, and sound designer. He has performed and made sounds with St Fortune, Advanced Beginner Group, 7 Daughters of Eve Thtr & Perf. Co., Royal Osiris Karaoke Ensemble, New Saloon, Trusty Sidekick Theater Company, Bentertainment, Designated Movement Company, Major Magics, Czech Neck, Tender Touch, and beloved others. His far-in new age project John Dwayne can be found at realjohndwayne.bandcamp.com. Gasper received his MFA in Performance and Interactive Media Arts at Brooklyn College.

Together John Gasper and I employed the following technologies/protocols:

  • Ableton
  • Hardware Synthesizers + Sequencers
  • Max/MSP/Jitter
  • Isadora
  • Arduino
  • NeuroSky MindWave Mobile+ Headsets(EEG)
  • Analog Video Mixer
  • Vintage Panasonic Video Camera
  • NeoPixel
  • DMX
  • MIDI
  • OSC
  • Python

CLICK HERE TO VIEW FULL TECH DIAGRAM