In March of 2014, Liz Magic Laser presented her video and performance work Bystander, at The Kitchen. The event mixed professional actors Lynn Berg, Audrey Crabtree, Annie Fox, and Michael Wiener, with professional newscasters, such as NY1’s Roger Clark, former KEYT-TV weatherman Jon Wright, and former WWOR-TV reporter Maria Trice. The cast presented 2014 news reports commingled with the personal stories and opinions of New York residents, collected and culled by Laser from nearly 100 interviews. The event investigated the purported facticity of news media and explored its theatrical and spectacularizing tendencies, blurring the lines between fact and fiction in order to reimagine “news” and ask what we consider worthy of attention. As with traditional news programs, Bystander was shot, edited, performed, and screened simultaneously. Laser wrote the script in collaboration with Sofia Pontén during their residency at Recess, in New York City.
Photo: © Paula Court