Hi Jason, tell us a little bit more about you and your role with FutureEverything
When I’m introduced I usually spend most of my time dodging the question of what I do. Jack of all (some?) trades, portfolio career(ist), polymath or dilettante. Perhaps most comfortable being described as an artist for hire, theatre maker, producer or digital consultant. For most of my professional life I’ve immersed myself in theatre and performance which might be as a writer, dramaturg, technical expert or production manager (although rarely a performer). Here at FutureEverything I’m most commonly employed as a Research Associate – so, an independent researcher or digital detective. Developing my research mojo, I completed my PhD at Manchester Metropolitan University a couple of years ago. Five years of self directed research which began with a fascination with ideas of experience and intimacy when those interactions are expressed through digital communications: what is love in 160 characters or less?
Could you say a bit more about what you were up to before our paths crossed, and what brought you to FutureEverything?
I’ve worked on a wide variety of performance projects (from intimate, one-to-one shows through to large-scale outdoor works with audiences numbering thousands). Mostly you’ll find me as part of a show’s creative team. Perhaps as a writer, dramaturg, sound designer, video designer, or as a technical specialist. I’ve also designed multi-sited telepresence projects which involve simultaneous performance (which might be dance or music, acting or poetry) with artists and participants around the world. This combination of culture and technology has meant I’ve lived in constant collision/collusion with FutureEverything for much of the last twenty years.
So… do you have a favourite FutureEverything project from the last two decades?
So very many! Perhaps Paul Sermon’s 2010 installation which used a video conference system to digitally combine two rooms – one in Manchester (UK) and the other in Sao Paulo (Brazil). Technologically creating a new space, compressing thousands of kilometers of distance into the intimacy of a single front room. Either that or the performance of noise rock band Faust who (without warning) set the stage on fire (shocking the technicians into sudden movement, as they ran to find the fire alarm switches).
In your own practice, what are you most interested in at the moment when it comes to digital art or culture?
I’m most interested in figuring out how we best bring our humanness to the challenges and opportunities of digital culture. What it means to be a collective, hyper-social species when that experience is often mediated through systems which impose their own spin on our interactions. When technology is driven by capital, funnelled by algorithm how can we simply be?
Tell us an artist, maker or creator that everyone needs to know about…
The writer Daniil Kharms, the musician Dr John, the performance company Forced Entertainment.
And finally, what are you reading at the mo – any recommendations?
Trying to get through the Big Piles of Books scattered around the house. Most excited by Jessica Lack’s “Why are we ‘Artists’? 100 World Art Manifestos” and Lemn Sissay’s “My Name is Why”.
You can connect with Jason over on Twitter @jasonjcrouch