PAW @ 2014 PEN World Voices Festival



For the finale of NYC's 2014 PEN WorldVoices Festival, PAW led nearly one hundred participants, makers, and remote contributors in a Procession of Confessions. Amidst ongoing revelations about clandestine government surveillance, the Procession of Confessions provided a way to reclaim control of our information – by freely offering it up to whoever may be watching. Participants welcomed the chance to publicly flaunt their meta-data, display banal personal details, and reveal the metrics of their misdemeanors in a collective act of exhibitionism. Integrating large-scale puppetry with crowd-sourced sound and live video, this modern-day parade of PENitents coincided with scattered solo performances worldwide joining in a simultaneous Flash-cloud of confessions.

During the Festival, PAW led a series of drop-in workshops to construct and animate visual elements for the Procession. Drawing from the infrastructure of surveillance and the dark theater of Communist-era show trials, volunteers helped embody the specter of government overreach as a nest of arachnid eavesdroppers and cyclopean watchers whose video eyes harvested and webcast the confessions of costumed penitents en route, leaving uneasy questions in their wake.


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