‘Unplugged’ reflects our troubling relationships with technology & society

DownThere Productions showcases Queen’s creatives

‘Unplugged’ considers the impact the pandemic has left on students.
Credit: 
Supplied by DownThere

In a showcase of four short films, ASUS’s DownThere Productions is gearing up for their annual show, with a portion of proceeds going to Kingston’s Addiction and Mental Health Services (AMHS).

The showcase will be held Mar. 31 at 7 p.m. in the Kingston Hall Reflection Room, where viewers will watch Queen’s students perform through mediums like dance, music, and poetry.

DownThere’s co-chair Sofia Hua, ArtSci ’22, and creative director Chelsea Lee, Comp ’23 spoke with The Journal about their featured performances and the inspiration behind theshow’stheme.

“We wanted some difference,” Hua said. “I think the variety of mediums helps encapsulate the creativity of the Queen’s community.”

Performers were given the theme, ‘Unplugged,’ which refers to how technology has impacted people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The theme challenges spectators and performers to reflect on their relationship with technology or other overwhelming aspects of life.

“I [also] feel like you could take ‘Unplugged’ in the sense of just being unplugged from work or society,” Lee said.  “I feel like with COVID, it was a chance for us to literally unplug from society or how it was working.”

For Lee, the chance for society to unplug arose during a time of shared social realization.

“[With] Black Lives Matter and the Asian Hate Movement, I feel like it was a really awakening moment for the world because we were kind of unplugged out of the matrix or something,” she said.

Hua and Lee appreciate the theme’s open-endedness, giving performers creative liberty when crafting their pieces.

They explained their theme was to create a unified show where artists could express and push themselves through their own interpretations of ‘Unplugged.’

 “We wanted to stay true to the performers’ visions and [how] they interpreted our theme,” Lee explained.

DownThere also wanted to reference the pandemic itself.

“COVID is on everybody's mind—it's everywhere, it affects our lives [in] all aspects,” Hua said. “And I think the best thing that we can do is face it head-on and reflect on how we [managed these] past two years.”

COVID-19 restrictions impacted the delivery of this year’s showcase, with what would normally be a series of live performances altered to a video format.

“There's definitely some irony [with our theme being] ‘Unplugged’ and we're having [our show presented through] a video that will be showcased to people,” Hua said. “I think it's poignant to our points in that no matter how much we try, it's hard to really detract ourselves from what's going on.”

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