Reactor

Total GHAOS

2005

Total GHAOS was a fantasy totalitarian society with a dense array of associated rules, systems and internal logic necessary to make this ‘world’ real. A multileveled scaffolding structure erected to form a three-day microcosmic society and the grand finale of the two-year GHAOS project. This physical structure represented the ascending levels of this social hierarchy, which could only be reached through successful negotiation of various roles, either bringing privilege of rank and the command of others, or inferior social positions and subjection to the commands of others.

Total GHAOS presented this staged reality as a location that could be perceived both as a real scenario (where your actions impacted on this reality) and as a symbolic construct (the Total GHAOS society), so as to locate the audience in a constant cross-over between the real and the fictitious. These participants (GHAOS Actors) took on new identities and progressed through the many interlinked roles within the structure. Hundreds of GHAOS Actors performed simultaneously in order for system to function, many of them returning on multiple days to progress through the hierarchy. With no position for the outside observer, and a wealth of detail to explore, total immersion became the norm and participants found it frighteningly easy to slip into a new mindset, capable of behaving in ways they would have considered unthinkable in the outside world.

Very quickly did this world seem to become a reality, an entry to state of mind where new rules applied, but I didn’t know about them yet. It’s clear that by doing away with the traditional role of an audience, Reactor have managed to create a greater sense of community and social relevance for all who take part in their antics.

I felt like I had signed my life away to a cult, or worse, to an art performance.

I felt a childlike achievement in trying to undermine the given authority.

Once you take away a person’s sense of time its a lot easier to impose a sense of a different existence.

What an occasion. Life will never be the same, I have entered the awesome world of Total GHAOS.

Press

Fused Magazine Interview (.doc, 43 KB)

Review - Jon Williams (.doc, 92 KB)

a-n Magazine front cover (.jpg, 717 KB)

Interlude Magazine (.jpg, 782 KB)

Left Lion

Additional resources

Audience Responses (.doc, 31 KB)

GHAOS Website

Total GHAOS took place in a empty warehouse (Nottingham - UK) in 2005, and was supported by Art Council England, Awards for All and Merit Li-Lin.