During the hour-and-a-half-long opening last night, sponsored by 13 arts and cultural institutions (some local and many from overseas), actors imitated the familiar conflicts, both real and theoretical, that haunt people in the age of the Internet.
The acts spanned the sociocultural spectrum: a woman wearing a burka, aglow behind a laptop, at the back of a pitch black stage pleading for her bodily rights; a mother castigating her daughter after discovering obscene behavior on her phone; and a man facing interrogation for possessing the “last secret in the world.”
Although the performers consistently broke “the fourth wall” by occupying their audience’s personal space, they hardly tiptoed around the issues. Instead, the audience was bombarded with worst-case scenarios, such as a T-shirt displaying an elderly man’s name and address and an “EverythingLeaks,” in which the entire country’s personal information is released to the public.
The effect was unsettling; one couldn’t help feeling exposed. This was especially true when a web camera, at first focused on a group of fictional millennials trapped in a pristine apartment, turned its eyes on the crowd.
The final display in the exhibit was a game show, featuring lighthearted categories such as “Who Do You Trust?” As teams competed, they learned how companies such as Amazon, Google, Uber and even Disney have taken advantage of our unguarded information. As the game came to a close, the contestants were left with one last message.
“We want you to be the only person who owns your personal information,” the host declared.
Digital Eye also runs tonight at 6 and 8:30 p.m. For more information and tickets, visit here.
Blind Whino: 700 Delaware Ave. SW, DC; 202-554-0103; www.blindwhino.org
Photo caption: Eva Wilhelm, Victoria Reinsel and Alex Piper in Making Plans, directed by Samantha Wyer Bello