Networked_Performance

Historically Locating Distributed Performance

2004.04.05 Helen Thorington, writing about an early conference proposal:

The following are examples of distributed performances:

Finding Time (Jesse Gilbert, 2000). Finding Time linked performers on six continents in a series of live musical events, each an hour?s duration.

World Wide Simultaneous Dance (1998, Laura Knott). The project took place simultaneously in twelve countries.

In both examples the performers played to audiences in their performance spaces and to a worldwide Internet audience by means of especially created websites.

I then move on to a brief history, beginning with Kaprow’s “Hello Hello” in the mid-60s–about which I can find very little information other than that it linked five sites in a television event. And on to Kit Galloway and Sherri Rabinowitz.

But the history is the not the question for me. Internet works resonate with historical issues. But what I’m beginning to think as I research for the conference is that we may already have witnessed the passing of the (pre)structured presentation of large-scale performance works–I keep thinking, for instance, that while Adrift (1997-2001) was very different from other works produced at its time, it was also very traditional. It was a work by three artists (the senders), in which its audiences had no agency at all–Like radio, like television, they were cast in the role of “receivers.”

adrift_6.gif


From the Adrift performance

Now…when did it happen?…the Internet environment is in a far more participatory stage and people-interest runs to works/platforms/
environments in which the former viewer can play an active role. Which may begin to explain why there are really not very many interesting large performance works being produced at this time. Not only is the technology still difficult but the environment is no longer congenial.

Or am I wrong? And if not, what does this do for/to our conference?

I’m going to think about this for awhile. Right now my only thought is that if this is so, the conference itself should reflect it and include the many twists and turns performance has taken in the last years.


Jul 31, 13:22

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