I went to Spielart in Munich in November 2013. I had never heard of Gob Squad, an Anglo-German Performance Collective who use humour, technology and personal disclosure among other techniques to ponder on some really big questions. The show I saw was Western Society. “Western Society is a portrait of civilisation in the 21st century, like a frame through which we can peep into the living room of an unknown family, and recognize ourselves.” Gob Squad
The premise of the show is that Gob Squad wish to re-create with the audience one of the least watched videos on YouTube. It is of a family party in a living room. For Gob Squad the living room is the very essence of “Western Society”.
i was totally captivated by the show for many reasons. It connected strongly for me with work in prisons and I am still unclear about exactly why. However there are some key aspects of the work that i would like to aspire to in my own.
1. It functions as a collective, 2. They use humour in a myriad of playful and serious ways, 3. They are simultaneously naive and knowing, 3. They play versions of themselves and show vulnerability, 4. They value the audience as going on a journey of discovery with them. 5. They are not afraid to ask big questions and maybe fail to answer them. 6. Their use of technology is inspired and asks us to question what we take for granted. 7. Similarly the way they use participation. 8. Champagne and Ferrero Rochers for participants.
Having particularly focussed my research on how Western Society might construct “intimacy with strangers”, I went to see the performance again at The Cambridge Junction and managed to catch a soft toy and be part of the reconstruction on stage. Here I am in a proud moment as “Remote Control Man”.
You can view the trailer for Western Society here:
Here is the video of the Cambridge Performance: