javaad alipoor: the believers are but brothers

Artist: Javaad Alipoor

Artwork: The Believers are but Brothers 

The Believers are but Brothers was a theatre piece that told two interweaving stories across performance, video, projection and whatsapp. The show existed across two different, but connected platforms, the stage in front of you, and the phone in your hand. 

As Javaad performed across these platforms, splitting the stories between ‘live’ performed content and digital content messaged to us, the show explored the ways we are able to share and present ourselves differently across digital and physical spaces. 

The piece highlighted the ways communities are excluded from, and silenced within, physical environments, and the opportunities digital platforms offer for people to gather, and these communities to reform. At its core, for me, the piece was asking questions about what is public, what is private, and who is watching.

Response: Exercise

Think of a key moment in the story you want to tell, or the idea you want to explore. 

Did the moment originally play out in a digital or a physical environment? i.e. was it a text conversation that happened between two people, or was it a live speech that was made?  

What happens when you transport it to another format? What happens if the speech plays out over instagram live, or the text conversation happens in person?

Reflect on what you found: what does communicating these moments on a different platform tell us about what was actually happening in that instant? How does it change how a viewer or a player might relate? 

Play the moment as it ‘originally’ took place. 

Have you discovered anything new about it? 

Challenge your preconceptions and think about the ways platforms and mediums can usefully challenge a moment and create tension. 

Often we would relate a text conversation to a more removed form of contact, perhaps when people are avoiding trying to say something – what interesting tension do you get when those moments are made live and there is nowhere to hide? 

Often when people are giving a speech they are pushing for moments of contact – they want to feel part of a collective, a movement. What tension do you get when a digital barrier is put in the way? How does that alter the speech, how does it challenge and reshape the experience and their message?