© 2015 Chloe Radford image

Karen and Rosamond

The idea of Karen interested me greatly as she is supposed to be an intellectual, information source life coach, who gets to know you through questions and jokes. ‘Karen is a life coach and she’s happy to help you work through a few things in your life’ (Blast Theory, 2015).

Karen is a specifically designed app that gets to know you so it can adjust to your needs. If you are in a bad mood it will approach you differently then if you were in a great mood. If you don’t want to talk to Karen she will leave you alone, however the more you talk to her, the more she will be able to act in the way you want. Karen makes the use of the data given playful, open and fun. Some information that she shares with you about yourself may be a surprise, but it was probably given unintentionally or subconsciously when being asked questions by Karen. The performance is designed to highlight how easy it is for normal use of media e.g. Facebook or Twitter can use information, even if you do not willingly give it.

How Does Their Final Performance Relate To Space? The Past?

This is a site-generic performance to you phone. So your phone becomes the space and performance. The performance cannot continue without the phone/device. Blast Theory stated that they ‘wanted you to be challenged about how honest and open you might be and to experience the thrill of having your personality appraised.’ (Blast Theory, 2015)

How does the work position the audience / spectator in relation to creating meaning?

The audience are given the option on when they want to talk to Karen as opposed to normal performances where they have a specific date and time. Karen asks questions that could be argued as being too personal or intimate, even for an app.

How Does The Work Get Documented?

Karen is supposed to take in everything you say so you get a unique experience. It is saved on your devices storage so she can supposedly use it at a later date. The performance lasts for a week where you will receive notifications and missed calls from Karen, at the end of the week she will give you a personalised report using your data

Mike Pearson commented, whilst speaking about his work From Memory, he commented that ‘gossip can include extraordinarily different orders of verbal material and information – opinion, anecdote and so on, without break (so that you can move from one topic to another, without stopping)’ (Cousin, 1994, 38). Karen has the potential to be the gossiper Pearson talks about as she gathers information and unintentional opinions the spectator has so she is capable of carrying on the conversation without faltering. This makes us aware of how easy it is to give away our information and more so, how simple it would be for someone to put pieces of our personality and traits together.

Karen is described as ‘fun and funny, always cheekily pushing her friendliness into new areas. You can decide how open to be and how to handle her inquisitive nature.’ (Blast Theory, 2015)

How Do We Have Access To It?

Through our phones, encouraging the obsession society has with its technology.

How this helps me

Karen has inspired my recent piece of work in the Drill Hall to have Rosamond Acworth tell her own story. Experiencing Karen first hand, I realised how intimate and personal it felt to have the app speak directly to me as if she was a friend. It made me more willing to spend my time getting to know her and vice versa. Rosamond Acworth, in my opinion would never be as casual and familiar as Karen, seeing as she was a late Victorian, vicar’s daughter. However I believe, if given the chance and a bit of persuasion, she would want her story to be told, but by herself. I want to create Rosamond in the best example possible through the research I gather from the church, school and hometown of Chobham, with the intention of creating a memorial performance, giving justice to Rosamond.


v  Blast Theory (2015) Karen. [online] Brighton: Blast Theory. Available from http://www.blasttheory.co.uk/projects/karen/ [Accessed 4 March 2015]

v  Cousin, G. (1994) An Interview with Mike Pearson of Brith Gof. Contemporary Theatre Review, 2(2) 38.






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