User:Max Dovey/Reading Writing Research Methodologies/maxgradprop

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Performance has become networked and no longer bound to physical time and space.

Real-time technology and networked communication is reconfiguring the ontology of performance, the ephemeral live act can now be broadcast, streamed and reproduced to multiple locations simultaneously. 

Tate Modern regularly streams performances in ’BMW Tate live’, Mariana Abramovic has an online platform for durational-based work and Blast Theory’s ‘My Neck of the Woods’ are all performing, live through the Internet.
Now that hyper-connectivity enables a shared presence between viewers and the performer becomes both here and there, the auratic object that was bound to physical presence has been reconfigured by its technological mediation. My question is how does technology mediate performance and our experience of liveness?

My general enquiry looks at the relationship between technology and live experience, specifically how media has displaced the auratic nature in performance art. I am interested in how performance uses real-time technology to imitate immediacy and live shared presence with audiences. I propose to investigate this through a series of performances with different media that demonstrate how technology mediates the aura of live performance. My graduate research project will explore this subject with a series of texts on different media that are used to communicate and broadcast performance. Working with the major communication networks of the last century to now (postal system, telephone, radio, T.V, Internet). Each text will be received by a selection of performance artists whose responses will be documented and form the research for this project. By writing the thesis in this way the analysis of each medium will be highlighted by performed responses.

The rough schedule for this research will be -

  • November – Letters and The postal system
  • January – Telephony and telecommunication
  • March – Radio and the Wireless
  • May – Television and TV Broadcasting
  • June – Internet and Real-time streaming

These experiments in performing via communication technology will become a survey of research on the effects of mediation on performance. By writing texts on how each medium and documenting the a performative response from each reader. A collaborative performance with networked mediums will reflect on the relation between the media and the live act.

The project in June 2015 will be a performance with real-time video projection(s) that will present the current tensions on how liveness is mediated.
A performer will be live streamed into the exhibition space and will be simultaneously acting in both a physical and virtual environment. The live representation of the performer will disrupt the relation between the audience and the action to call into question the origin of the aura in live performance.
My own methods of performing via computers with a live audience will be applied to reveal the questions regarding immediacy and mediation. By performing actions that are instantly mediated by computational processes, the direct affect of real-time technology on experience is revealed. The value of performance, in its ephemerality and originality can be revealed through its technological mediation.

Previous work 95677127

‘Foley Narrative’ 2014 Throughout my time at the Piet Zwart Institute I have developed a methodology for performing with computational data and a live audience. In ‘Foley Narrative’ (2014) speech to text software ‘listens’ to the noise I create with objects and translates my actions into words that are projected on screen.
The relations between the objects and myself are interpreted by the computer speech to text and program and generate an instant (mis)interpretation.
I improvise with the direct mediation between the performance and the computer’s interpretation of my act.

More recently I have performed an analysis of real-time technology. In ‘Real-real-time’ (2014) I examine the representation of live in film and computers, deconstructing the illusion of ‘real-time’ and analysing different temporal illusions in media that depict reality. Presenting the illusion of liveness in technology allows us to see the affects of technological mediation of our sense of time. The website uses a live video stream to mirror the viewer into a real time representation.

In ‘Twitter Theatre’ (2010) performers improvise from real time twitter feeds that are projected into the space. The performers respond to the continuous streams of data by using the tweets as scripts for an improvised performance. Here performers react with the speed of networked technology and create a performance between live data and the audience.


A historical context begins with Futurist performances, Fluxus, Allan Kaprow’s Happening’s, John Cage and current gameplay theatre of Blast Theory and Tate Modern’s video streaming platform ‘BMW Tate Live’.
Artists and organizations across a broad cultural field are challenging how performance can be experienced with networked technology.
The theoretical context is currently situated between arguments put forward by Phillip Auslander in ‘Liveness’ (1999), Peggy Phelan’s ‘Unmarked’ (1993) and Matthew Caurey’s ‘Theatre and Performance in Digital Culture’ (2006).
These three texts all describe performance in reference to the Walter Benjamin text ‘Art in the age of technical reproducibility’ (1936).
Their writing will support my practice in locating the authentic in performance with networked technologies and provide a critical framework for my graduate project.