Aguebao

July 2019

Performer, Writer, Production Manager

A digital theatre production that explores the commodification of gender through data.

Aguebao explores the value of human identity, especially gender, as commodified by data. Originally conceptualized as a 15-min performance and installation under Gender Bender 2019, Aguebao uncovers how our present relationship with technology reveals more than we intend to about ourselves while neither realizing how much we’ve given away consensually nor creating an image that is an accurate representation of who we are.

At the core of Aguebao are conversations between two cis-gendered men somewhere in cyberspace, struggling with the concept of modern masculinity. One of the characters, a data professional that fits the present defintion of 'woke', mines user level data to build products. The other, an overgrown man-child who’s given up on the idea of understanding the opposite gender, collaborates with the former to create a mobile app that can accurately predict a person’s gender using a few 'inputs'. What the two discover through their process of tinkering, experimentation and building the app reveals far more about the intersections of technology and gender than what they'd originally expected.

The project was also selected to be a part of Reconnect - Online Theatre Festival (Iran) and is slated for a full-length production in 2020.

In 2019 I received my first independent grant to co-create a new performance and installation along with Varoon P Anand. The piece intended to combine everything that interests me about the online world (consumer tech and its questionable benefits/practices) and how it impacts us everyday. Aguebao explored just how much we are willing to reveal about our gender identity, cultural tastes & preferences and our behaviour on these apps, and how advertisers show us targeted messages. The real-life experience and industry knowledge I gained from working in a data company helped us develop the text and expand upon specific ideas related to data classification, gender prediction and gender-based advertising. As a performer I relied on my training in spontaneous improvisation (aka improv) to devise different scenes.

Cast & Crew

Presented by Kaivalya Plays
Devised and Performed by Gaurav Singh and Varoon P. Anand
Text by Varoon P. Anand & Gaurav Singh
Projection Design by Gaurav Singh
Supported by Sandbox Collective, Goethe-Insititut Bangalore, Prakriti Foundation

Production Overview

Premiere: 23 to 27 August at Bangalore International Centre, Indiranagar

Festivals: Gender Bender 2019, Reconnect Theatre Festival 2020

No. of Performances: 12

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