Game Show

Game Show

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“Everything I own,” he answers. “My fridge, my washing machine, my plasma TV, my printer, computer, and personal photos, everything except my partner. I can’t really give up my partner. I’m suffering for my art,” he continues. “It’s a ridiculous pursuit. Everyone thinks it has a slight aspect of stupidity and madness.” Game Show, Meecham explains, is trying to deal with a few things at once. “It’s a sort of meditation on consumerism. As well, it’s a comment on aspirational culture, on fame and fortune, and on competition.”

 

How will Game Show actually work? “Each night 50 contestants from the wider public, people with no performance experience, will be reduced to one winner through a series of simple progressive tasks. Who shall be the best? Who shall achieve glory? Obviously, with so many contestants each night, it’s a little bit less intimidating than TV game shows. People don’t feel they have to be the best; they have agency.” Thinking about TV game shows, Meecham notes: “The money is good but there is a sense of wanting to win, as a separate kind of objective. Even some of the campier, old format game shows, where you play for a blender, people get disconnected from the prize element and become abstractly engaged with the process itself and getting to the end, and eventually forget about the blender.”

 

Meecham’s own obsession with celebrity provided him with the idea for Game Show, concepts he and Aphids wanted to both develop and subvert in the moment of performance.  Audiences and participants will see just how much he’s prepared to sacrifice for fame and glory. “We had the idea of subverting obsession with fame in this way, through working out how to create a piece of artwork and a game that comments on consumerism and competition, and provides a moral dilemma.” Does Meecham truly want to be über-famous? “I’m toying with the idea,” he muses. “My partner says that I may be obsessed with fame but if I really achieved it, I’d hate to lose my anonymity. At the moment I want it all.”

 

Meecham says, too, that offering his personal possessions as prizes is a way of creating an alternative type of self-portrait. “I’m using the things I own to represent aspects of myself. Everything I own is seen in a giant subverted showcase – it’s all up for grabs. I’m using visual art in the form of a large scale installation to represent a section of who I am. You get to know Tristan through the things he owns.”

 

Is there anything he doesn’t want people to know about him? “It’s very compromising,” he answers. “A lot of my possessions are embarrassingly crappy or have sentimental value, like my mother’s teddy bear, and some have material value, like my plasma TV.” Meecham admits to the risk, not only of losing all his stuff but of exposing himself by his behaviour in real time through the progression of the show. “The reality of giving away my things is very risky. Will I find it too hard to continue and shut the game down? All things will be revealed. But the show must go on,” he adds bravely. He says Game Show involves ‘similar semantics’ to Fun Run.

 

“This little non-professional runner tried to get through a marathon. Game Show occupies an emotional space rather than a physical one. The ramifications will only really become apparent once we transport all the items to the theatre. When that happens, will I be bereft?” 

 

Meecham wants the audience to engage with Game Show on several different levels. “We’re using things to make it accessible to the mainstream. People can subvert their previous experience of that world, people will be able to create their own space; the public will consider the broader themes and see the value in them, or the absolute opposite. Game Show comments on aspirational culture: people can reframe that or consider it in a new light.”

Meecham and Aphids have made a point of reaching out to the wider public with ‘a significant promotion’ for the four night event. “People can easily register online through the website. We’ve a large community involved; there’s a performance aspect to each event.”

As well as the public participation component of Game Show, the nights will feature razzmatazz elements like glitter canons, bright whizzy lighting, cinema, and performance collaborators such as The Body Electric Dancers and the Jonathon Welsh and 100 strong The Cho!r (of Hard Knocks fame). The proceeds of the first night’s show will go to the Hard Knocks community. “We will engage with community on lots of levels,” Meecham continues. “We want the experience to be genuine and meaningful as well, so we’re donating profits.”

BY LIZA DEZFOULI