Finding Lucy yesterday: temporal dislocation via binaural sound in the mobile opera, ‘Fragments’
Fragments is an opera for mobile media that tells the story of an unnamed man who awakes dazed and confused under the shadow of the Beau Nash obelisk in Queen’s Square, Bath. He has little memory of past events, yet can vaguely recall relaxing in the city with his partner Lucy the day before. He quickly reaches for his iPhone to find several frantic text messages and missed calls from Lucy, who seems scared and unaware of her surroundings. She is lost, and alone. He is scared, and desperate to find her. What unfolds is a location-based affective story, told through song, ‘flashback’ videos, and binaural soundscapes of Bath city centre that flux between the past and present. We (the player) guide the direction of the opera by taking responsibility for the protagonist – leading him across the city to collect fragments of lost memory. This is an empathic journey. Along the way, we tune in to all the disorientation, misremembering, self-doubt and distress felt by Lucy’s partner…
Lee Scott is the Subject Leader of Creative Computing, Bath Spa University.