Meet the Artist Who Translated ‘Waiting for Godot’ into an iMessage Conversation
Behind them, Le Fraga’s reinterpretation of Samuel Beckett’s classic drama Waiting for Godot — titled “W8ING” — scrolled by, staged in the Messages app of an iPhone, in text-y abbreviations and emoji:
“Nothin 2 b done.”
“word – I feel like yr right.”
“all my life I’ve been like wtvr b reasonable like you haven’t tried everything yet”
“but the struggle is real”
And so on.
It’s probably safe to say that this is not for everybody — actually watching two people swap messages as their text-English conversation scrolls by can be a challenging experience.
But that’s sort of Le Fraga’s point, and it’s of a piece with her many explorations of language and technology. Over the past few years, Le Fraga has boldly reimagined how an audience can engage with a work, especially a classic one, in real time.
Her work has been featured in a variety of galleries and forward-thinking journals, and her latest work has just been published by Gauss PDF, which makes public, via the Web, all manner of tech/text experiments.
“TH3 B4LD 50PRAN0” takes the form of a video that lasts a little less than 9 minutes. It’s another reworking of a celebrated play for the new-media era — a Gchat “performance” inspired by Eugène Ionesco’s play The Bald Soprano.
That play is in no small part about the nature of dialogue, communication — and the failure to communicate. Le Fraga’s interpretation shows us a texting exchange on a desktop — where there’s also an open browser, and occasional pop-up alerts that an operating system update is available.
The onscreen commotion only adds to the disconcerting nature of the back and forth between two apparent strangers who may or may not be more connected than it first appears.