Ergo Sum is a multi-sensory experience, currently under development, which combines live performance with technology, exploring the kaleidoscopic nature of human experience. Framed as an empathy experiment, the project seeks to immerse audiences in the minds of characters living with psychiatric and neurological conditions, exploring the boundaries and transitions between hallucination and reality, and internal self versus the external world.
Through auditory, visual, and tactile illusions created using binaural sound, projection mapping, and haptic technology, the show immerses audiences in the sensations related to conditions including PTSD, Autism, and Schizophrenia, allowing them to experience different personal journeys and perspectives of the world.
Ergo Sum began in 2015 when Sleight of Hand Theatre ran some R&D at Theatre Delicatessen in London, experimenting with combining binaural sound and live performance to immerse audience members in the experiences of others. We explored the experience of having autism, of being a stroke survivor, and of schizophrenia with 3 writers (Hattie Naylor, Lynette Linton, and Jessica Burgess), consulting with people from Islington Mind, the National Autistic Society, and TLC Care Young Stroke Survivors.
Following this they ran a workshop at the University of Warwick (funded by their Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning), bringing together academics from theatre, philosophy and medical sciences to discuss further development of the work.
The piece has developed since 2015 with a new script and more collaborators, and our next step is to explore other sensory elements, including illusory visuals, tactile sensations, and smells. The project is now being developed for touring in 2018, in collaboration with Limbic Cinema.
Alongside our touring production we are also creating a range of binaural audio and VR packages for use in empathy training for medical staff and carers, and running workshops in binaural technology and performance around the UK and abroad.