The Living Newspapers: 2010
The Living Newspapers is a live installation consisting of pairs of museum visitors seemingly engaged in pedestrian conversation. These conversations are actually performances comprised of real-time data harvested from the social networking environment, Twitter. Reciting texts received through discretely worn earbuds, the interlocutors in The Living Newspapers act as subtle embodiments of the collective voice of social discourse.
The work involved over 30 performers and ran for two weeks-long durations at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Pairs of performers channelled texts in apparent dialogue for two 2.5 hour shifts each day. The intervention was revealed as a performance twice daily when they undergo a choreographed transformation into two winged figures, an embodied reference to a New Deal era sculpture permanently installed at the Hoover Dam.
The living newspaper, from which the project takes its name, was a genre of socially engaged theater funded by the federal government in the 1930's. The plays were constructed from factual information on culturally pertinent topics (such as the syphilis epidemic or the economic plight of farmers) and were were often designed to educate or mobilize their audiences.
The Living Newspapers, an offshoot of The Precession project, was a collaboration of Judd Morrissey & Mark Jeffery with inflatable wearables by Claire Ashley. It was part of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago's Hide and Seek Exhibition from February 12 - March 12 and again from June 1-27, 2010.