Optical Chicken explores the absurdity of social interactions, the intimacy of private moments, and the spectrum of strangeness in between. Like chickens, we are engaged in “games” dictated by arbitrary social constructs. Our well-being depends on our ability to play the game. In this piece, the performers test the limits of social gaming, highlighting their own strangeness and peculiarities.
“Optical” alludes to gaze behavior—how the act of looking changes both the viewer and the object being viewed in a powerful way. This is referenced in the opening readings from Optical Distortion, Inc., a Harvard Business School case study about contact lenses for chickens. Along with musical references to the Chicken Dance, it is a happy coincidence (or is it?) that these disjunct elements demonstrate the absurdity of the social.