Adrienne Mackey

TRAILOFF is an immersive audio storytelling app that puts audiences in the center of the drama! Using smart phone GPS tracking narratives sync to viewers as they walk along a trail.
Project Status:Launched but iterating its technology, also seeking new partnerships for further development of additional stories and sites
Project Description:

TRAILOFF is a transmedial walking performance created by Swim Pony in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC). Central to the project are 10 original audio stories, inspired by paths within the region's expansive Circuit Trail network. Each trail features an original narrative drama, crafted specifically for the landmarks at that site, that unfolds over a roughly 2 mile route. Stories have been written by local authors who demonstrate both rigorous artistic practice and connections to communities traditionally underserved by environmental programming. Audiences experience these intimate journeys through the free-to-download mobile phone app, which uses GPS triggering to link specific audio points to physical attributes along the mapped route. Each path features narration of the text along with underscored music and atmospheric sound design, all synced to the movement of an audience member as they travel along the trail. Using additional sensor data (weather, date, time of day, walking pace) the narratives also contain subtle variations heightening the app's awareness of what the listener does, giving them a magical experience of real-time response. Each of the ten stories act like a personalized site-specific performance, a fiction unfolding in live time and in response to the user's movements. The effect we aim for is the immediacy and embodiment of interactive site-based theater, but on a scale that is infinitely more accessible, without the culture, cost and knowledge barriers that can prohibit many from taking part.


Adrienne Mackey is an interdisciplinary artist who explores themes of presentness and play through game-inspired live experiences. Under the aegis Swim Pony she’s created works including SURVIVE! - a 22,000 sq-ft interactive installation exploring the cosmic scale; THE BALLAD OF JOE HILL - a play with music created for Eastern State Penitentiary about the execution of a historic labor icon; THE END, a month-long contemplative performance game over text message exploring death and dying; and WAR OF THE WORLDS, a game/theater collaboration with Drexel's Entrepreneurial Game Studio looking at gentrification as an invading force. Mackey also originated CROSS POLLINATION, a three-year project researching forms of interdisciplinary collaboration with 32 artists. In 2020 she launched TRAILOFF – a GPS-responsive mobile app created with the Pennsylvania Environmental Council embedding immersive audio stories onto nature trails. In fall of 2021 she’ll unveil WATER LOGGED!, a card game commissioned by the Alliance for Watershed Education inviting audiences to explore nature centers through humor, reflection and sensory experience. Selected awards include an Independence Fellowship and two Knight Arts Challenges. She’s a graduate of Swarthmore College and Goddard College’s MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts. She’s Assistant Professor of Acting, Directing and Devising for UW’s School of Drama, a classically trained soprano, former chemist, and sings funk vocals with Johnny Showcase and the Mystic Ticket.

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