The stand-alone house, built in partnership with domestic violence and financial abuse experts, as well as a team of recurring designers and collaborators I brought in to create intricate spatial installations and interactive lighting and sound design (Nina Caussa, Jackie Zhou, Andrew Schneider) was cued live by surveillance cameras as the audience member moved through each room, gave participants a visceral experience of the systemic and structural factors that enable a domestic violence situation and make it difficult to escape.
Comprised of real survivors’ testimony and experiences, the immersive experience reflects the layers and complications of domestic violence circumstances through first-hand audio and location-specific effects grounding guests in the societal and historical context of the issue. This journey is intended to help visitors understand why it’s difficult – and sometimes impossible – for those affected by domestic violence to “just leave.”
Annie Saunders is a multidisciplinary creator and director. She has created award-winning unique large-scale experiences and multiplatform projects for MasterCard, Santander, Hewlitt-Packard, Dos Equis, Bulleit Bourbon and ASICS Worldwide, as well as The Los Angeles Philharmonic and other major arts institutions.
Her installation The Home, a headphone-based experience for one audience member at a time for Santander Bank/Domestic Violence Awareness Month, won the D&AD Yellow Pencil (“Creative Excellence”) for Spatial Design and Installation Design, was shortlisted in three other categories, won the Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP) Next Award in the Experiential category, won three awards for Merit in Storytelling, Art Direction and Installations at the One Show, and won two Advertising Producers Association (APA) Ideas Awards in the UK: Best Experiential Project and Best Use of Technology for Good. The work in archives in the Department of Film at MOMA NYC. Her work for HP’s ‘Family Portraits’ campaign won a Shorty award for Diversity and Inclusion and Ogilvy Awards for Tech, Telecommunications and Data Innovation.
She is a member of the inaugural ONX Studio, an invited accelerator for artists working in extended reality to develop significant works for the public realm through NEW INC, the New Museum and the Onassis Foundation, and an alumnus of the Devised Theater Working Group for next-generation performance-makers at the Public Theater.
Her ongoing multi-platform collaboration Up In Arms with Anna Maria Nabirye for physical and digital spaces is in development and touring with ArtsAdmin in 2020/21. She is currently developing Rest, an XR project with a physical installation as well as a game-built experience for audience-participants at home. Rest is a collaboration with composer Emma O’Halloran, commissioned by and created with Los Angeles-based ensemble Wild Up, with the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA, and with EMPAC at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She is also developing The System, a multi-platform work for digital and physical spaces, imagining an LA-noir landscape for a post-patriarchal world. Saunders is the founder and artistic director of site-specific performance company Wilderness, and has created experimental theatre and live experiences around the world. She is a core collaborator and performer with Lars Jan on Holoscenes, and her experimental project The Wreck for Opera Omaha was called ‘ingenious…a persuasive expression of complex female feeling,’ by the Wall Street Journal.