“A society without sousveillance and undersight, i.e. a society with surveillance and oversight-only, may leave itself open to this Upward-migration of crime and corruption.” (Steve Mann)
in the 1950s, American sound engineer Charles Douglass invented the Laff Box, a unique instrument which he performed during filming for TV sitcoms with a live studio audience to encourage, or rather, “sweeten” any given joke or scenario meant to invoke laughter. from the role of a facilitator of perception to the existence of feedback from being watched, the laugh track or canned laughter is the object of desire missing in the rise of the surveillance state, having turned everyone into an actor of what might be the most perverse sitcom in human history.
as an ongoing project, The Public Repository of Canned Laughter / Applause seeks to open up ways of watching the watchers, to consider new / alternative feedback mechanisms in order to engage with power and its illusions.
these sets were recorded on 3 separate occasions;
1. Canned Laughter / Singapore (recorded at The Necessary Stage’s Black Box – May 2016)
2. Canned Applause / Singapore (recorded at ArtScience Museum – October 2016)
3. Canned Laughter + Applause / Taipei, Taiwan (recorded at TheCube Project Space – December 2016)
and had employed different techniques in generating instructions which were performed by participants.
to listen / download / utilise / share the recordings: The Public Repository