BAND IN A BUBBLE as an evolving convergence spectacle, provided an experiment of levels of interaction - on-ground in the public square; broadcast via a daily 30 minute live Band in a Bubble show on cable music channel Channel [V]; and an ongoing 24 hour broadcast on dedicated 'Bubble TV' Foxtel digital cable channel 802; online with webcam streaming, and weblogs; and secondary to this media interaction with print media, free-to-air TV news and variety shows, live radio crossovers and show hosting from inside the Bubble; and mobile phones used to intergrate communication and competitions (ie album cover art, lyrics), sending images to the websites, video streaming; along with anything else technology and media offer up.
The basic premise is to transform what is essentially an introverted, artistic process (recording an album in an insular recording studio) into a extroverted, performative scenario in a very open recording/living space accessible to the public on a variety of levels that not only challenges the musicians creative mindset (the artist vs performer) but also locates them in a strange state of exposure per the day to day living through this process. 21 days was considered the most appropriate period of time combining interest in what they were doing, actually record an album and create a challenge in being able to achieve this, replicating the music industry process in a public and rapid microcosm.
People were witness to a mixture of the everyday banality juxtaposed against the weirdness of living in a trapped environment, and the artistic connections (and disconnections) that not only happened inside but through the exterior booth set up for recording street performers, additional musicians and sounds, along with any passersby who communicated through the intercom/recording mic setup... and whatever else spontaneously arose. They slept and ate inside the glass bubble in full view and the enclosure at the back had a fridge and toilet/shower facility. The event culminated in a free live performance on the stage in the square when they emerged on the 21st day.
During their time in the bubble, Regurgitator recorded the album Mishmash, shot a video for first single The Drop released on their release, and experienced one of the most bizarre times of their lives. TV host Jabba smashed up some music equipment, went stir crazy, escaped after a break in by some over zealous fans, smashed a laptop, and suffered the slings and arrows of non-stop exposure.
With so much interest in revelatory seeing-as-it-happens type shows... the literal rolling off the conveyor belt of expose docu-soaps and reality shows exposing the machinations of various facets of culture... the time was ripe for an 'actual creative process to be experimented with in such a public scenario. Developed from an idea presented in 1999 by Regurgitator's manager Paul Curtis (Valve Records), whereby a fishbowl-type glass studio was proposed for a public location (Queen St Mall, Brisbane) so that the band could record inside unhindered yet in complete view of the public gaze. Their manager proposed the idea as a rather extreme and twisted variation of the idiosyncratic approach the band took to recording. Previous projects included: going to Bangkok to work in a rural studio owned by a political rebel Thai popstar; setting up a studio in an condemned inner Brisbane warehouse; and hiring a beach house to set up a recording studio in amazing Watego Bay in northern NSW. Unfortunately neither this suggestion nor the idea of hiring the Soviet space station Mir to record in, were considered feasible or of interest, labeled as the insane ramblings of a confused individual. In late 2003, Quan (while based in London) witnessed David Blaine suspended in a perspex box over the Thames, and feeling inspired by this extreme display saw rationale to consider the idea again. Thus the band agreed to be locked into a specially constructed bubble environment situated in the heart of Federation Square in Melbourne for 3 weeks to record an album. In this short time they would assemble the album recording and then release it to the suspecting public as soon as possible. Not dissimilar to the approach that they had taken on previous outings... just a little more sinister in what was at work on their trapped feverish minds. They would create, eat, live, and sleep in the space with no exit. The sleeping arrangements would comprise of a mouse type boxes to scurry away to at night, and food would be delivered in the standard penitentiary manner. Toilet and shower facilities made available to maintain the necessary degree of hygiene that permits a mixed bag of creative humans in a confined space to live without too much physical impact on each other.
Quan, Ben and Peter would be accompanied by their producer Magoo and engineer Hugh, and TV host Jabba... to suffer the pleasure of their company for all to see. Seeing would be believing... involving the public accessibility of being in an open space, a 24 hour visual mediation (including the introspection of sleep) by cable television and other portals into their domain including the Internet. The space would be miced-up to record communications and incidental sound, a series of cameras installed to capture the action that would be telecast/webcast; as well as internet access inside the room for communication and interactivity per webchats and blogs.
This would be a no holds barred race to meet the recording deadline and involve all the normal drama that will be naturally inflated by the pressure of being in full public view, with an overtly fixed timeframe, no escape (ie locked in, so many distractions) and the addition of a scenario to confuse and compound. What the bubble represents is more than an attempt to approach music promotion in a novel manner, but also an attempt at social experimentation as the sheer banality of an actual creative process is tweaked to a bizarre level in a virtual mirror of the perceived reality format.
The revelation of a normal process in an abnormal fashion.