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I Think I Can
20 January 2021
What would you like to BE today?
I Think I Can is an interactive installation that places miniature model railway layouts in public spaces, railway stations and arts centres, inviting the public to engage and play by becoming temporary residents via a tiny puppet.
Through puppetry, live video, and active audience interaction, this innovative public artwork asks “What would you like to be today?” engaging participants in an optimistic task of collective storytelling that deals with dynamic notions of residency and responsibility.
“A charmingly optimistic exploration of responsibility, community and place.”
“The whole project has a really gorgeous playful feel about it… It is all beyond charming.”
The Guardian Australia
Created By: Sam Routledge and Martyn Coutts
Director: Sam Routledge
Media Artist and Dramaturg: Martyn Coutts
Software & Interaction Design: Matt Gingold & Oliver Marriott
Design: Jonathon Oxlade
Website and Graphic Design: Futago
Consultant: Ian Pidd
Participants first take a playful “Career Test” on a custom-built iPad Application. The test calculates their personality and provides them a choice of puppets in professions to which they are suited. This encourages children to imagine themselves into another reality, as if they were grown up. They receive an intricately detailed 1:87 scale human figure and are invited to imagine their resident’s story. As a puppeteer animates the character into the miniature railway world, the participant tells their puppet’s story. This story is documented and appears on the website created for the project, which is in the form of an online newspaper. As the puppet is animated, its movements are filmed and the footage is streamed live onto screens above or adjacent to the installation. At the end of their direct engagement, participants are given a “passport,” which enables them to return to the miniature town at anytime over the period of the engagement and move their figure again in relation to what has happened around them. As more characters arrive, the virtual community continues to expand, and each participant can track the journey of their figure through the online newspaper:
2017 Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
2016 On the Edge, Birmingham UK
2016 Taipei Children’s Arts Festival, Taiwan
2016 Belfast Children’s Festival UK
2015 Festival De Betovering, The Hague, The Netherlands
2015 Walton Arts Center, Fayetteville, USA
2015 Calgary International Children’s Festival, Canada
2015 Come Out Children’s Festival, Adelaide
2015 Vancouver International Children’s Festival, Canada
2015 Tasmanian International Arts Festival
2015 Casula Powerhouse, NSW
2014 Queenstown Heritage and Arts Festival, Tasmania
2014 Arts Centre Melbourne
2014 Junction Arts Festival Launceston
2014 Festival Of Live Art Melbourne
2014 Australian Performing Arts Market Brisbane
2014 Perth International Arts Festival Perth
2014 IPAY Showcase Pittsburgh USA
2013 Art and About Festival Central Station Sydney
2013 Federation Square Melbourne
Originally produced by Intimate Spectacle and created in association with The Australian Model Railway Association Glen Iris, Australia.
The development and original presentations of I Think I Can, and international presentations (Canada, USA, The Netherlands, Belfast and Stratford-upon-Avon), were supported by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.
The tours to Birmingham, Taipei and Stratford-upon-Avon were assisted by the Australian Government through the Ministry for the Arts’ Catalyst – Australian Arts and Culture Fund.