ASMR with Katarina: Process

RAW presents Katarina Countiss, Estefano Romani, Ariel Daly, and Naina Shastri at SAFEhouse Arts the culmination of my 10 week residency with SAFEhouse.

Below in the post is a video of the projection art and audio track that you can enjoy for a headphoned experience wherever you are. Under the heading “An Online Experience.”

The pieces of the performance can be broken up into: the set up of the headphones, the christmas light code, the one on one ASMR session, and the pink ballooons dance.

The Set Up of the Headphones 0-16:08


goal: get everyone to this link and ready to hear the track: SAFEhouse Show Audio Link. I had extra headphones and splitters.

The Christmas Light Code 16:08-26:12


In this piece, I have two battery powered LED christmas light wires, one blue, one green. I put one in a chair and carried one with me. The colors did not matter. I started to set down a line of moonstones. Communicate in non verbal ways different messages about the moonstones being a code for aliens or aerial witnesses or something.

the one on one ASMR session 26:12-33:33


I’m explicit in the gesturing to the chair and audience that I’d like a volunteer. One comes and sits and I show them a variety of props and ask them about their experience with ASMR and curate a use for one or more objects in an improvised ASMR session. This person enjoyed Head Massage to trigger ASMR. I used a comb to stimulate his head, including his upper lip.

The second night, I had a volunteer who did not know about ASMR and I gave a wider but more shallow tour of the box, we applied white glue to the backs of our hands, enjoyed a gentle mist or five from a spray bottle, and listened to some comb sounds.

the pink ballooons dance 33:33-39:23


In this play I ask for 2 audience volunteers. I offer them masks and instruct them simple choreography, ex. touch the balloons together and let’s circle.

The second night I clear the chairs for better space and we wear the costumes (ribbon with plastic pink fringe sewn on) that I designed and helped make.

img_37731Dmitriy gave me his program for safekeeping. I gave him special thanks in the program. Among the other amazing things he’s done to support me and my art, he was the head seamstress in our costuming department consisting of me and him.

Above is the show documentation by Mark McBeth. He captured a unique perspective on the show. I’ve never had a videographer and I thought it would be rude to give him directions on how I envision the show being captured. In the future, I would be more assertive and have a dialog to create something that is more reflective of the experience. It was odd to me that he not sit in the audience section.

This was the first night of the show, my first solo show! It was a challenge for many reasons. I was working on props and projection art that very day. Also, I didn’t do a proper tech check and there was a projector to computer connection issue, so I had to scrap the projection art. I adjusted my expectations and it was a different show than I intended but those who attended appreciated what I did.

Creating a headphoned theatre experience is something I’ve been thinking about ever since I got involved with ASMRtistry. The audience needed to be equipped with headphones, a smartphone to access my track and to play it all at the same time. Embedding a soundcloud track was not the best move. It prompted the user to download the app, so essentially my piece involved account creation, which we all know to be an intimidating process. Another login-password to store in our brains, you know?

After setting up the audience with headphones and having the track ready, and telling a few jokes to keep the air jovial, I began the piece. There are three distinct sections. Earlier that day, I worked with the tech peeps Nicole and Colin on my lighting design. It was so much fun being the director and having to make these choices. Initially the lighting cues were on me– second look when the chairs move to stage left– but I realized the stagework I’d be doing was going to be so fluid, I wouldn’t know when to end. Instead of me cueing the lights, the lights cued me. At 10 min and 18 min marks it goes from one lighting situation to another.

Reflections of a Second Night

I had two shows two nights in a row, the second night had projection art. Before the show, I went around to each group getting settled, telling them about the show’s technical requirements of the app and headphones. I was equipped with extra headphones and splitters. I felt I was friendly and it was a small enough crowd that visiting each audience member felt intimate and sweet.

I had different masks for the third movement, different audience volunteers for the second and third movements. Different choreography for the first and third pieces. Different responses to the audience member in the second movement. All and all, the style I approached the performance making led to a show with a lot of variability.

I definitely wish I took photographs the second night. The costumes were transformative.

An Online Experience

Below is the video to the audio and the projection art. View it with a friend and appreciate the social aspect of the volume check, everything else is pretty much a solo experience, though have some cookies and water handy!



I wanted to show how my process in creating material for my ASMR channel on youtube through personas. I wanted to capture aspects of the shaman, scientist, professor, artist, and animal. I used certain characteristics to create a variety of aesthetic choices and influences.

The week before the show, I was still developing the way the performance would go. I went to a beach, a cafe, and market street. I did free writes on the monday before the show to create the text and recorded it in my apartment. It felt like a flower that blossomed in a short period of time.

I’m looking forward to creating a new ASMR-based show for the group presentation in January! ❄


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