[Performance] Top Secret International

The work is different from what I expected it would be. In general it is a bit fragmental and does not have a well developed engaging curve in terms of interactive experience. Sometimes I got bored. It might be the information I already knew about from tv series that got me distracted. There is a lot of information feeding, but less missions or imaginations compared to Remote Mitte. In addition, my 2 hour personal route was too long and it made me impatient.

It is a piece discussing secret and privacy in society arranged according to a central event of recruiting intelligence agents. The voice in the headphone introduces the application procedure, normal tasks, and the intelligence systems all over the world. Participants are asked to make choices and carry out orders such as meeting with another person to exchange information, listening to a victim’s story, walking somewhere, and taking notes. Every participant holds a notebook which is used to track his/her position in the space and to indicate the choices he/she makes. The whole tour happens in the Egyptian wing of Brooklyn Museum. However, it does not have anything to do with the exhibition. The exhibits are only used for locating. It makes sense to have the museum tour as a disguise for intelligence agents, but the exhibition is distracting since this is still a performance.

The idea of recruiting people is great. It creates excitement, fear, and self-doubt. In comparison, the idea of observing other people and guessing their purposes is not convincing or interesting enough to keep me in the world of the performance. The questions are piercing. Asking myself those questions was challenging, but I still feel that there could have been more interactions or information closely related to the questions to keep my mind on track. The walking and drawing missions are not specific. The best part is the last half hour. I already thought about how the participants were being monitored, but when I finally input the password on a nondescript computer and saw the headshots taken without permission on a ground plan, it was still shocking. The image was so beautifully designed and user friendly. It made me feel naked. Then based on my answers to the questions during the tour, I was given a CIA recruiting form, said to be a real one.

Actually I only made those choices to try to make my experience more dramatic. I mostly chose the evil way so that I got to hear things about China which I believe was created by Kefei. Even the fear I wrote down fit into the context. It was betrayal. The word I got from a man was “failure”. The strange thing was that I did not really feel how unacceptable my answers were although I would have chosen a different one if being honest.

On my way out of the museum I saw the man again. We smiled to each other like we were sharing some kind of secret.

[Performance] Top Secret International


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