‘Portaleza’ Reimagines What An Online Experience Can Be
Speaker 1: 00:00 Well high a playhouses. Wow. Or without walls festival was forced online by COVID-19. But as a site specific event, the restrictions of quarantine have simply become a creative challenge. KPBS arts reporter, Beth haka, Mando says the latest digital wow work today. BW is portal as it, she speaks with its creator, David Reynoso about his innovative approach to creating a virtual experience. Speaker 2: 00:26 David you've just launched your wow show, which is called Puerto Lisa. And I had the pleasure of experiencing this the other day. And it was so phenomenal, but first I just want you to kind of give a little pitch to people and explain what portalets it is. Speaker 1: 00:44 That's important. The less, the word itself is sort of a imagine word of between portal and portal, which means strength or fortress. So you as an audience member, purchase the tickets and then you wait for something to arrive in the mail when this parcel arrives in the mail, you open it and it launches you into an experience that then you as a sort of solitary participant and get to unveil something that's, uh, I would say, bring some low tech magic to your name and the idea behind it really came from how it is that we all really crave this idea of connection during this time of social distancing of, you know, uh, during, you know, coronavirus. So it felt that it was important to celebrate how it is that we as humans seek to connect, seek to leave messages for each other, or sometimes send messages out into the ether, much like a message in a bottle. And is there still benefit to sending something out that perhaps may never reach the person that it's destined for? And does it still bring us hope to imagine that that message might get to them? And I I'd say yes, Speaker 2: 01:55 There were so many things about this that I just thought were so inventive and clever. Let's start with the beginning, which is, I love the idea that you deny people, instant gratification you have to register, and then you have to wait for something to come. And that sense of anticipation is so kind of refreshing these days. Speaker 1: 02:17 Yes. I think something that I certainly craved about going to the theater is a lot of this sort of ceremony that is involved in going to an event. And I thought, Oh, well, it'd be fun to kind of tap into that for you as a visitor at home to think about, alright, well, I need to wait for this thing to arrive in the mail. And then when it does all right, I need to kind of ready myself for what I'm about to experience and the mystery that is holding, uh, within this package, I think allows you to sort of make space for the experience. And I thought it would be great to, like I said, it's that sense of ceremony from going to something to try to create that within your living room and then creating Portales. I felt that I wanted to be able to bring that to visitors, to participants, to audience members, whatever it is that we think we want to call, um, those who are partaking in this, this idea of truly kind of losing the periphery of a screen, I've been able to then think of what does he see in a screen and have that kind of expand and explode beyond your sense of peripheral vision. Speaker 1: 03:27 And then I was really started to contemplate kind of low tech magic. I thought I was thinking of everything that I love, kind of like old penny arcades is sort of the ask Zol Dar machines, if you will. Or I remember, you know, assembling things out of cereal boxes and, you know, imagining that when you make this all of a sudden today, you now have a set of like magical binoculars. I thought that there was something about that fun in that low tech magic that invited the audience members to then think about also playing along, uh, within this. And I think it does unlock something within us that is quite profound. Speaker 2: 04:04 Well, I'm torn between wanting to tell people about what this is and wanting to keep it all a secret. So it's a surprise, but there is this really nice mix of high tech and low tech because we're using obviously high production values and we're using the internet, but you do have to assemble something yourself, which is really kind of delightful. Speaker 1: 04:27 I think too. There's great satisfaction of feeling like I did this, I put this thing together. It works. And I think when you invite someone to think about, alright, these are the components of this, and I need you to place this here and put this here and assemble this here. And then when you hold it like this, and you do this with it, suddenly you will see that something great is about to happen. Um, I think we love imagination. I think this is a time in which we need imagination in order to keep us moving forward. And I wanted this to feel like an invitation for you to use that wonderful tool that you have in your brain of imagining something beyond your reach Speaker 2: 05:08 Too much away. But you do create something that is essentially like a kaleidoscope out of very kind of rudimentary tools. How was it creating a video that was going to be seen in a way that's not strictly this square frame on your computer, on your cell phone? Speaker 1: 05:30 I think it was this idea of trying to create freshness from seeing something through a screen and in order for it to feel new, I thought that the vantage point for which I, from which I now partake this digital content needed to shift, and I liked the idea of also giving people permission to shift their physicality. And then they go to look at a screen and it brought me back to kind of, I saw pictures of kind of the early kinetic scopes, the sort of Victorian apparatus in which you look through of you find her and kind of turned a crank and watched kind of a very rudimentary moving picture. But this idea of then what it does, it really focuses that the image you're about to see certainly there is something kind of kaleidoscopic about what you're going to see you through this, um, device. Speaker 1: 06:23 And it did give me permission and it excited me to think that then that image was then going to be refracted within this viewfinder. I remember as a kid making my own kaleidoscope, and then you put objects that are very boring. You might put a sort of like a beat and these things that feel very, kind of not very special on their own, suddenly within a kaleidoscope, as they're moving around, they're being multiplied, makes them immensely more magical. And so within this, you're about to see, I wanted that to feel a turtle in some ways within this client, Speaker 2: 07:00 We've talked about the visuals, but there's also a great soundscape that goes with this. And how did you create that? Speaker 1: 07:10 When I go to create these pieces for optica Milena, I tend to start with the sound, something about the arc about it is such a collage for me. So it is an myriad of sounds that I've found and cut and spliced. And I'd say, it's this kind of a Sonic collage, if you will. And I think sound is so powerful and what it's able to do to us emotionally. So pairing that with the visuals and the experience of then having to, you know, getting the touch that I wanted this to be a very multisensory experience for as much as I was able to provide that. Speaker 2: 07:47 And there's also a sense of interaction that is different than interacting strictly online, where you click on something, cause you have people either text or check your email and it's this again, another layer of delaying a response and, and, and causing you to interact, but not necessarily in the ways we are most used to doing necessarily. Speaker 1: 08:13 I think something about that, unlocking that happens when you're given the key, it sorta, it cannot be, it cannot do anything unless you put it into action. There are certainly the tools within this parcel that give you then the permission to unlock things, but you are very much responsible for the mocking of it. And so then when you arrive at what you're about to then truly going to see and hear it, then feels like you are the only one who may have found it, which I think is so satisfying. Speaker 2: 08:47 Well, I want to thank you very much for creating this fabulous port to Liza and for talking to me about it. Thank you, Beth. It's been a privilege. Thanks. Speaker 3: 08:57 That was Beth haka. Mondo speaking with multimedia artists, David Renoso port Alessa opened yesterday and runs through October 4th. You can get a sneak peek tonight on KPBS evening edition.