Would you take a lie detector test with a stranger? The polygraph machine used to be regarded as a legal instrument, but today we think we can cheat. Let’s see if your heart rate can lie as effectively as our leaders can.
This is the challenge put to Sunshine Coast audiences by mischievous art collective Counterpilot during Horizon Festival.
Described as techno trouble-makers, Counterpilot is a Queensland-based collective of artists and technicians who create intimate experiences for adventurous audiences.
After impressing critics and audiences at Adelaide Fringe, their latest high-tech theatre work, TRUTHMACHINE, will make its Queensland premiere as part of Horizon Festival this August.
Combining live performance and cutting-edge technology, TRUTHMACHINE sees audience members undergo a group polygraph test in the search for truth in a world of fake news and alternative facts.
TRUTHMACHINE takes inspiration from art history and true crime, blurring the line between fact and fiction to deliver an intriguing narrative as part of an intricately designed aural soundscape. Paige Poulier’s captivating live performance is supported by another, unlikely co-star: the polygraph technology itself.
Co-founder and director, Nathan Sibthorpe explains how Counterpilot have assembled interactive voting systems and biometric sensors to get their audience’s hearts racing.
“Powered by software custom-designed for the show, our sensors track the participant’s heart-rate, breathing pattern and galvanic skin response…or how much they’re sweating. All of this physiological information is converted into light and sound signals that are fed to the audience in real-time.”
“But perhaps more daunting than the digital systems are the analogue lie-detectors in the room…a jury of other audience members listening to your every word, watching your every movement, wondering…are you telling the truth?”
Counterpilot is renowned for placing audiences at the very centre of their unique, high-tech experiences and TRUTHMACHINE is no exception.
“It’s part theatre, part social experiment. Twelve people enter the room. We have no idea how they’re going to react. Our questions might be prepared in advance, but it’s impossible for us to predict our audience’s responses; whether they be true confessions, complete lies or something in between. The energy in the room is alive and responsive…we can never run the same show twice!”
The unconventional performance first caused a stir at Adelaide Fringe in February, where it was quickly named Best Film, Digital and Interactive Work of the festival and described by critics as “unique” (Scenestr), “genius” (Broadway World), “intimate, intense and interesting” (This is Radelaide).
Counterpilot’s strictly limited season at Horizon Festival may be the last chance for Sunshine Coast audiences to experience this high-tech artwork before it tours Australia and internationally.
Dates 26-27 August, 2019
Venue The Events Centre, Caloundra
Book Online www.horizonfestival.com.au/event/truthmachine
TRUTHMACHINE is produced by Metro Arts, presented in partnership with PAC Australia. TRUTHMACHINE is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland, part of the Department of Environment and Science.