“Sleep No More” Isn’t Content, It’s User Experience

January 26, 2012 — 0

I spent half the day today with the leaders of our digital music group, at the space where Sleep No More is running.  An inspiring background for us, as we planned some crazy shit for later this year.

(Take an interactive tour of the space, here)

It gave me a chance to consider what we’re trying to accomplish in digital in a new, disembodied way.  As Sleep No More‘s director helped break the show down to its component parts, I thought about the visceral connection audiences have with a breakthrough interactive experience.  What those audiences users give, and what they take away.

From a social perspective, Sleep No More raises questions all programmers, developers, storytellers and marketers must struggle with, now more than ever:

– Why beginnings, middles and ends?

– How do we hold space for viewers to co-create the narrative, and why is that so important?

– Which variables must we control so that we don’t have to control the ones we shouldn’t?

– How do we provoke emotionally satisfying experiences for audiences who wonder if something more compelling is happening in the next “room.”

– How do we “share” an experience?

The storytellers we love most don’t strive to create “content.”  That’s because content = matter.  And matter doesn’t move you.  Experiences do.

Experiences are moments in time and space that are here, then gone.  They are “never before” and they are “never again.”  The greats — Homer, Shakepeare — gift us experiences that cause change in the universe and in our selves.

What Sleep No More teaches reminds us is that the path we take through an experience is the experience.  And when we preserve the order of our perception, we can come close to remembering what it felt like.