deadspace darktext livescan presents audiences with a live art event that challenges notions of privacy in the digital age. based on a telephone interception bill that was passed in australia during july 2000 which allowed for civilian phone lines to be tapped and recorded without permission or notification if a ‘subversive keyword’ was triggered during a conversation.
pvi begin the performance by announcing their intentions to call a number at random from the phone book and engage a complete stranger in an intimate conversation. the deadspace piece aims to subvert a seemingly innocent conversation by highlighting any potential keywords and phrases that may be deemed ‘dangerous’ by the phone-tap system set up by the ukusa international spy network. the piece also confronts the audience with the growing urge for voyeurism in entertainment, with the first explosion of reality tv shows occurring at the time.
deadspace puts the audience in the position of fly-on-the-wall voyeur and incriminates them in an illegal activity, with performers not informing the caller that their conversation will be aired in-front of a paying audience.
deadspace darktext livescan was subject to criticism due to the ethics involved in broadcasting the phone calls for a live audience without the implicit knowledge of the caller. it also went on to win ‘the best of the fringe’ award at perth fringe festival in 2002.
devised by: pvi collective
performed by: james mccluskey, kate neylon, chris williams and jackson juliani
putting on an act festival, perth institute of contemporary arts, july 2000. wa fringe festival, blue room theatre, february 2001
wa fringe festival award for best performance in the fringe 2001