VIGILANCE was an interactive R&D hybrid experience in partnership with Arts Council England that invited private audiences to examine their own biases and judgements through the lens of ethical hacking. I co-created, co-wrote, and co-directed the experience with Jon Cooper as part of differencEngine, and led technical direction for the hybrid elements.

In VIGILANCE, audiences were invited into the world through an online portal, where an ethical hacker has provided them with data surrounding a prominent fictional Member of Parliament (MP). They must work together to analyse the MP’s movements, communications, and other information over a two-day period before the hacker supplies them with a live meeting location and time. At the meeting location, audiences could eavesdrop on the MP’s conversations using headphones and a custom radio system, continue to review information, and decide how (or if) they wanted to interact with the characters.

We designed VIGILANCE to explore how context (and lack thereof) can impact how an audience understands a character’s motivations. We also wanted to investigate how we could bring the audience into the story long before they ever arrived at a live event — and use virtual elements to keep them engaged and provide touch points throughout the experience.

I led the technical direction and execution of our hybrid web communications system, building a bespoke web interface for our online content, and supported development on our live experience “eavesdropping” system, which we built using AWS and Twilio. Both of these systems served as a proof-of-concept for the work we later executed in THE PEOPLE’S REVOLT, a similar hybrid experience.