Did you ever see the 1997 movie The Game, in which a character played by Sean Penn gifts his brother, played by Michael Douglas, with a wholly immersive experience--a huge Game made just for him, tailored to every aspect of his life and personality, which includes a cast of actors he will not realize are actors, unsafe situations he will not realize are safe, something pretty much guaranteed to be a life-changing if not pleasant experience for the guy who has everything? OdysseyWorks is a group of multidisciplinary artists who create such experiences (okay, maybe not quite like those in The Game, but I was immediately reminded of it) for very small audiences...24-hour experiences, usually for a single person. Not "games," quite, but as they put it:
OdysseyWorks creates immersive, site specific, long duration performances for very small and fully participatory audiences.These multi-site, cross-genre performances radically rethink the artist-audience relationship, resulting in a series of aesthetic and narrative experiences designed for one person. Reconsidering traditional processes of art-making, performative potentials of public spaces, and the nature of human relationships, the work draws from a broad range of techniques in disciplines as ordinarily estranged as poetry and architecture, music and psychology, book arts and theater. The performances deeply and personally affect both audience and artist, incorporating community members not as passive audience members but actors, extras, and assisting artists.
I was interested to see that poet Matthea Harvey is now or has been part of the group.
Via this MetaFilter post, which also includes a link to an article describing an experience designed by Matthew Purdon and Abraham Burickson, two OdysseyWorks members, before (it appears) they took the name OdysseyWorks. A film about OdysseyWorks, The Midden of Possibility, will be showing at Cannes in May 2012. Here's the blurb from the web site:
Midden of Possibility follows conceptual performance group OdysseyWorks over the course of three months as they develop a 36hr performance for a single person--Kristina, a woman in her thirties who lives in midtown Manhattan and went through an extensive screening process to have the group make a performance for her. From New York City to Ithaca--on trains, in caves and in old farmhouses--through the pages of a novel, in a poker game (played using cards bearing archaic text and 19th century lice removal recipes), and over radio broadcasts across the Hudson River Valley,she moves through this world as the a star without a script, gradually discovering her own agency. Ready for change, and looking for a different approach to her life, Kristina has no idea what is about to happen to her. Actors are infiltrating her life, articles in the New Yorker are suddenly very personal, and everyone she knows is in on it, or seems to be. The filmmakers lived with the artists for three months as they attempted to find a way to transform their work from conventional to transcendent, and to transform themselves along the way.