The Naked Self

with Michele Lee & Tanya Dickson (2016)

There could be thousands of photos of you online. How many really show who you are and how you feel about yourself? In the safety of your own private booth, while undressed, a voice will lead you to examine yourself as you may never have before. Here, you’ll create a one-off, audio-only self-portrait. An immersive blend of both confessional and digital culture, The Naked Self is a chance to view yourself from a special and unique perspective.

The Naked Self was commissioned as part of In Your Hands – a new series of artworks and installations that invite audiences to create experiences mediated through hand-held technology. In Your Hands was commissioned by Arts House through the Australia Council’s New Digital Theatre Initiative.


Tapping deep into potentially traumatic subject matter, The Naked Self is an extremely confronting experience, but after sobbing in the privacy of the booth I left feeling lighter and clearer.” Jana Perkovic, The Guardian

“The Naked Self was another highlight. Armed with a tablet and headphones, you are guided into a gentle space and invited to listen to audio portraits of people discussing their bodies. After twenty minutes of listening, you are invited into a soundproof booth to get naked by yourself and then record your own portrait, which is then added to the pool people can select from in further rounds of the piece. It was a lovely, gentle, respectful piece that carves out the opportunity to listen to and commune with the one thing that never leaves us: our bodies.” Laura Elizabeth, Theatre People

photos by Jody Haines

Concept: Tanya Dickson & Michele Lee
Concept & App Development: 
Matthew Adey, Tanya Dickson, Russell Goldsmith & Michele Lee
Production Design: 
Matthew Adey
Sound Design: 
Russell Goldsmith
System Design: 
Steve Berrick
Photography & Video:
 Sarah Walker

For The Naked Self, I worked with the creative team to build a playback and discovery app for the audio portraits, and an online server and repository for audio storage and show admin.

An app built using MeteorJS was run on 16 Lenovo 7″ tablets, gently walking people through the process of getting comfortable and streaming portraits, then cueing them in to a booth to record a portrait of their own. The app was highly visual and had a voiceover putting the audience at ease through the entire journey.

Front of House also had their own admin app, which enabled them to see which audience member was in which booth, and the time left in their experience.

Michele and Tanya also have access to a web based admin app, where they can choose to publish audio portraits for future sessions, and make adjustment to show timings and content.