google

Guest blog: Tassos Stevens

Open Google, and type in W. As I just did. What pops up for you from autocomplete?

I get this, which tells you something about me and my brain recently and about the world of people like me.

 

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what happens if man city win the champions league and liverpool win the europa reflects that I am a curious Liverpool fan hoping for a scenario where Manchester United finish 4th but are gazumped from qualifying for the Champions League.

welfare queen was me reading about American politics and the rise of Trump, an article mentioned this phrase that Reagan popularised in scapegoating welfare recipients, and again I’m curious.

west euston taxi firm is me writing the version of REMOTE which takes place in West Euston, the area around Camden People’s Theatre, where REMOTE opens next week. And I need a name of a local taxi firm.

And then weather and walmart and wells fargo are… well they could be what everyone else in the world – or at least people like me – is most likely to be googling when they first type a W, or they could be that plus Walmart and Wells Fargo have paid Google to insert, or maybe they are just chance?

But then I try another browser which I never normally use and get this.

 

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And I’m wondering if there’s a US-UK difference reflecting something slightly illicit I tried in one browser to access the US version of Netflix…

I’m doing this googling as research for REMOTE, especially for the advance game which is going to be ready to play online from early next week.

In the world of REMOTE, it’s 2016 but an ever-so slightly sci-fi version, as if it had been written in say 1997. REMOTE is a company which is all your internets – Google, Amazon, Facebook, Uber and more – and dedicated to offering you freedom through choice. The REMOTE catchphrase, what its algorithms say every time you boot up: we are here to help you be more like people like you. The world as presented to you by the internet changes according to the choices you make, and the choices people like you make.

But REMOTE is a piece of playing theatre, happening live in the room. The conceit is that you the audience are assembled for a prototype of ‘theatre of the future’, trying to place liveness inside the system. You make choices presented to you in an unfolding script composed by algorithms (actually me and the team, obvs) and narrated by two actors. To make a choice, you each have a card. You raise the card for one option, if you do nothing, it’s the other option. The actors ‘appear’ to be in the room with you, but actually they are in the navigation centre thousands of miles away (actually in the room, natch).

From this seed is flowering a story you get to play, together with some brilliant actors – Angela Clerkin and Tom Lyall next week, Gemma Brockis with Tom the following week – and Kieran ‘Ableton’ Lucas on live sound. A story which somehow seems to encompass the politics of choice, HS2, and Leon-ification on a local level, but also climate change, the singularity, and possibly the hardest choice anyone would ever have to make. In which the flickering nature of human agency, how we feel that our actions make a difference, is the subject. If we can cut all that down to less than 90 minutes.

I was googling What happens at the end of the world.

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 [Tassos Stevens]

Coney’s REMOTE opens at CPT next week and runs until Sat 30 April. FIND OUT MORE