Echoes is a performance art piece exploring the impact of mobile phones on human-to-human interaction.
Produced in 2012, it was presented at Northwestern University as part of Boomshaka’s mainstage production Break the Chain.
Act I depicts a primal rhythmic gathering, which gradually dissolves as performers are interrupted by incoming text messages. Performers text audience members from onstage. As the audience receives text messages, their experience of viewing the performance is interrupted – they are drawn into an unexpected interaction with the artists.
In Act II, additional drummers file into the aisles, restoring the audience to an environment of immersion and focus. Dancers depict archetypal poses of greeting, stargazing, grieving, embracing. Continuity is jarringly interrupted, again by cell phone interactions: the stargazer looks away from the sky and down to her device; the embracer takes a step back to check an email. Viewers are yanked in and out of a pleasing, immersive performance by these moments of phone-checking.
Act III continues a production-long narrative as the show protagonist speaks with an unknown caller on his phone. Ambient music in minor tone leaves the commentary unresolved.