funded research and development : 2018-2019


          *desire path   /dɪˈzʌɪə/pɑːθ/

                  A desire path is a path created as a consequence of erosion caused by human or animal foot-fall traffic. The path usually represents the shortest or most easily navigated route between an origin and destination.

Funded by the Arts Council of England Developing Your Creative Practice fund, this project will explore the possibilities of creating a site specific dramatic musical work embedded in the real world location of its story and experienced through the use of geolocation, mobile devices and headphones. Rather than placing it's narrative in interior spaces the work will offer up the sounds, music, voices, characters and histories of the exterior urban human landscape.

Some of the musical content will ask the listener to stand still and absorb a location and its impact on the story or its characters. Other content will be about movement, about the experience of passing through a location, of walking down a street, of mingling with a location's inhabitants. Some moments will be observational, some deeply intimate and personal, others intensely dramatic.

The audience experience will be an immersive, intimate and private one, channelled through device and headphones, and it will require a necessary level of physical real-world interaction. It may also involve game-like elements of puzzle-solving and multi-linear narrative structuring.

The work is being developed in partnership with the globally renowned theatre and education company C&T and will utilise their award-winning technology Prospero to curate the audience journey and experience. Prospero is a powerful interactive tool which has been developed for use in creative education workshops but which also has immense potential beyond the classroom. The Desire Path will be a first use of the technology outside of an education setting, in a collaboration which will greatly energise and drive the research and development aspects of the project for both partners.

The choice of The Desire Path as a working title reflects a hope that the work may explore the binary organic relationship between the urban citizen and their environment; how cities are shaped by their human inhabitants and vice versa; how the remnants of a place's history may yet shape the realities of that location today. By these routes the work might find its way into the sphere of Psychogeography*...

          *psychogeography   /ˌsʌɪkəʊdʒɪˈɒɡrəfi,ˌsʌɪkəʊˈdʒɒɡrəfi/

                  1. the study of the influence of geographical environment on the mind or on behaviour.

                  2. the geographical environment of a particular location, typically a city, considered with regard to its influence on the mind or on behaviour.

...and it is also hoped that the work might consider character's histories as existential desire paths in themselves, timelines waymarked by choices made and the traces and tracks those steps have left on the lives of others.

The content of the work will explore the unique qualities, sights, stories, populace and histories of the performance location and for this test project the setting will be contained within a footprint of no more than 1 mile square. However, the potential exists (and will be explored) for wider-ranging, possibly city-wide or festival-wide, settings for future fully-developed works.

The project will further the creative collaboration between Martin Ward and the acclaimed playwright and librettist Phil Porter. Additional collaborators will be announced on this page in due course.


MW : December 2018