PuSh Blog

Adrienne Wong on Sometimes I think, I can see you

January 31, 2013

Pity the surveillance camera. Its unblinking fixed gaze. Objective. The endless observations, each equally weighted. As a writer for Mariano Penzotti’s Sometimes I Think I Can See You, I’m tasked to be the surveillance camera’s human analogue – taking notes on what I see.

But the work (and it is work) is about more than just observation. Where a real surveillance camera can only capture events to tape, we are asked to write stories about those we see. It’s in the invention of these narratives that I confront my habits and shortcuts as a writer.

If you were to read over what I’ve written in the six days I’ve worked, how many times would you see the word “secretly” or “hidden”? How many strangers have been friends since childhood? How many Olympians would you count? And how many children will change the world with their radical philosophies and inventions?

The two hour shifts are not easy. But in the most difficult time – the last half hour, especially – when all the stories that sit easily at the tip of my fingers have been exhausted, when I’m tired of hearing the sound of my own voice in my head, this is when true invention happens. This is also when I’m most open to receive information off the people I see. Let’s call it ESP.

For instance, the couple dressed in complementary blue and yellow Gore-Tex jackets. I spun a long story about them, their successes on the Olympic ballroom dancing team (see above), which is where they fell in love. And their children, to whom they will pass the sequined dresses and dancing shoes. As the couple was leaving the VAG lobby, I asked them, via the screen, if they wouldn’t mind sharing a few moves with us. A little twirl, perhaps? AND THEY DID! The couple danced like they knew what they were doing.

So… coincidence? Maybe. Or was there something about them that my ESP picked up? An observation impossible for any surveillance camera to make. Pity the surveillance cameras. Their eye will never be human.

Adrienne Wong is writes, directs and produces theatre and audio art. She is artistic producer of Neworld Theatre.

Sometimes I think I can see you

Mariano Pensotti (Buenos Aires, Argentina)

Presented by the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, Contemporary Art Gallery, PTC and Vancouver Art Gallery

February 1-3 2013 12:00PM – 4:00PM

Vancouver Public Library, Central Branch, Atrium
Vancouver Art Gallery, Lobby