Aste works in a range of creative, design and production roles across interactive theatre, immersive events, festivals, games and technology.
A background from alternative/autonomous culture and a scenography education unite in a practice spanning experience-design, narrative-environments and digital-dramaturgy. Transformative worldbuilding and immersion for audience mobilisation are running themes in her work.
Her particular area of focus is achieving greater transportation in IRL immersive audience experiences, through improved story delivery and interaction. Her Live Event Narrative Engine (L.E.N.E), originally conceived for interactive black comedy The Apocalypse Gameshow, was deployed at Boomtown Festival 2017, supporting branching narrative paths across the site-wide Immersive Theatre Maze.
Aste founded start-up Computer Aided Theatre to build a platform for data-augmenting live, actor-to-audience interaction and innovate human-centred interaction design.
Past clients and collaborators include: Tate Modern, Barbican, V&A, Royal Opera House, Science Museum, Glastonbury Festival, Trash City, Carnyville, MuTate Britain, Ms Stubnitz, British Vogue, Bloomberg, immersive Cult, Secret Cinema, Another Magazine, MiuMiu, Marc Jacobs and CNN.
She was previously an Associate Lecturer at Central Saint Martins, is a past recipient of the Norwegian Arts Council’s Artists Salary, and is a current Fellow of Immersion with the South West Creative Technology Network.
Her research explores the challenges and possibilities of profiling-for-personalisation within live immersive events.
“I arrived at Immersive experiences from the direction of art for activism. It’s been a key focus of my work since 1997. My central motivation of mobilising audiences through active participation led to threatre productions using game-elements and responsive narratives when there was not yet a vocabulary for this type of work. I was informed by training in Boal’s Forum-Theatre, staging Situationist interventions and absorbing Bakhtin’s notion of Carnivalization.
In 1998 I co-founded Dublin performance company Spacecraft, creating a series of immersive shows and founding Glastonbury’s Underground Piano Bar (1998- ), one of the UK’s first immersive festival environments.
Wearable-tech performance project Sonic Sideshow, co-founded with Nathaniel Slade in 2008, gave me valuable experience staging live, tech-supported interactions, and employing technology to enhance audience experiences.
This informed development of The Apocalypse Gameshow (2007-14), an immersive black-comedy where players competed to survive end-of-the-world scenarios.
The Apocalypse Gameshow was my first testbed for tools supporting personalised audience interaction. We evolved a basic Computer Aided Theatre system for the show, harvesting data from players, online and in real-time, which informed a responsive on-stage show, and improved one-on-one actor-audience interactions.
This show, and the tech development supporting it, came from a desire to speak directly to individual audience members and utilize the liveness of theatre to mobilise them around urgent social issues.
To develop these tools further, I sought support within the arts, instead securing innovation funding in 2016 and founding Computer Aided Theatre Ltd (CAT) to develop a set of commercially available tools addressing recurring formal limitations and challenges facing immersive event producers.
Currently CAT is focused on securing larger scale collaborations and commissions in the independent festivals sector, helping festival producers enrich their immersive entertainment offering, and improve their audience communications. CAT are also open to theatre and experiential collaborations, and opportunities to work collaboratively in play-testing new tools with actors.
I also take on freelance creative-direction, art-direction and experience-design work on immersive projects.”