Article

Crafting Trajectories of Smart Phone Use at the Opera

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Abstract

Losing Her Voice is a new opera which highlights the challenges of subtly interweaving digital technologies into established cultural forms. Audience members were encouraged to use their own mobile phones to interact with on-stage projections before, during and after the performance. We chart the trajectories of participation that were designed into the premiere performances of this work, and how these unfolded in practice. We identify the strategies that were effective to: encourage adoption of the mobile app; interweave use with the other elements of the opera performance; make it consistent with the content; and ensure it complemented but was not essential to the show. We highlight the way in which three canonical trajectories must be woven together in this experience: the standard trajectory of “a night at the opera”; the dramatic arc of the specific work; and the audience member's use of their own device.

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