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Reassembled, Slightly Askew - A Unique Immersive Theatrical Experience

Paul Stapleton
Professor Paul Stapleton
School of Arts, English and Languages
Abstract image of a dancer

Reassembled, Slightly Askew (RSA) is an immersive audio-based artwork that transports you inside the head of artist Shannon Yee as she descends into coma from a rare brain infection and her re-emergence into the world with an acquired brain injury.

The work was created by a multidisciplinary team including Queen’s University’s Professor Paul Stapleton as composer/ Sound designer.

Research Challenge

AN IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE OF LIVING WITH AN AQUIRED BRAIN INJURY 

Rather than develop a conventional play to be performed onstage to an audience at a distance, the aim was to create a more visceral encounter with Yee’s experience informed by her hypersensitivity to sound resulting from her acquired brain injury (ABI), as well as her movement constraints from temporary paralysis down the left side of her body.

Our Approach

AN AUDIO-BASED ARTWORK CREATED THROUGH BINAURAL MICROPHONE TECHNOLOGY

Developed during a 5-year period of collaborative artistic research the piece makes use of binaural microphone technology and spatial sound design techniques, causing listeners to feel they are inside Shannon’s head, viscerally experiencing her descent into coma, brain surgeries, early days in the hospital, and re-integration into the world with a hidden disability.  

'I found the whole experience to be incredibly emotive. The inner voice of the protagonist really immersed me in her character even to the point of giving the illusion of different personhood. I was brought to tears (well, almost, on the cusp) on several occasions, really experiencing and sharing the fear, anger, sadness and joy…and also the love between the protagonist and her partner.' 

Audience member

What impact did it make?

ENHANCING PUBLIC AWARENESS OF INVISIBLE DISABILTIES

RSA has significantly enhanced public awareness of the challenges of living with acquired brain injury (ABI) The work has also impacted the professional practices of artists and healthcare workers by harnessing the wider potential of immersive audio storytelling to provide empathetic and embodied understandings of invisible disabilities, and by offering medical professionals a deeper understanding of the patient experience in situations where this is difficult or dangerous to access directly for example coma or hemiparesis.

Key Facts
  • RSA has in showcased to audiences in 25 different arts venues and festivals in countries including Canada, England, Hong Kong, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and the USA

Our Impact

Impact related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Learn more about Queen’s University’s commitment to nurturing a culture of sustainability and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through research and education.

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and well-being
  • UN Goal 03 - Good Health and well-being

Impacting in Countries/Regions

REF Impact Map
Impacted Regions
Impacted Countries

Explore more

Reassembled, Slightly Askew - YouTube - Video

Audio trailer (warning contains bad language)

Major Grants and Funding

Its development and production has been made possible with the support of a Wellcome Trust Arts Award, the Arts Council NI, Sonic Arts Research Centre, Belfast’s Metropolitan Arts Centre, and grants from the Arts & Disability Award Ireland scheme

Sub-themes
  • Creativity and cultural understanding
  • Enabling technologies and creative cultural practice
  • Technologies and digital innovation for healthcare solutions