The People Series was conceived as an interactive microperformance game that traded social interaction as a commodity. Designed specifically for art festivals, galleries, and social events, the work adapts the technology of the business card to create an experimental social milieu. Each version of the game was site-specific with the instructions on the cards contingent on the nature of the event and venue.
The premiere of the game, PV People, was held at the Floating IP Gallery in Manchester in December 2003. The private view audience was issued with a set of microperformance instructions, developed directly from interactions observed during gallery private views.
Players are invited to pick a card at random containing an instruction for a microperformance, which is to be performed (at their will) during the event. Each card contains numbered peel off stickers for players to mark the location of their performance and the artists contact details. All players are briefed not to disclose their instruction and that “tonight we are all performers”.
The stickers correspond to a “key” on display in the venue listing all instructions scripted for the event. This sets up a paradox between the secret knowledge (on the card) and public knowledge (on the key). Throughout the game, the stickers build up across the venue documenting each microperformance and working in conjunction with the key, collectively trace a network of social interaction.
Whether slipped into a wallet, pocket, purse or bag, the card persists as an afterlife of the event. Participants are encouraged to use leftover stickers to document their microperformances elsewhere. The contact details act as a silent injunction: “call FrenchMottershead, visit our website and feedback on your experience.”
The People Series has been performed at:
Live@8 People, Galway
Verbo People, Verbo 2008, Sao Paulo, Brasil
Arnolfini People, Arnolfini, Bristol
Party People, ACE / ITC Edinburgh Festival
Uncomfortable People, Rhode Island, USA
Malt Cross People, YAH Festival, Nottingham
Everything People, EEC 2004, London
NRLA People, National Review of Live Art, Glasgow
Duckie People, Duckie, London
Princelet People, Fordham Gallery, London
Fierce People, Fierce Festival, West Bromwich
Site People, University of Exeter
Sumo People, Seen Festival, Leicester
PV People, Floating IP Gallery, Manchester