July 14, 2004
Welcome to the networked_performance blog
Welcome to everyone interested in the future of networked performance. We are planning a conference in the Spring or Summer of '06 and would like to invite you to play a role in its development by giving us your perspective on what the important issues are in networked performance today.
The conference will bring together practitioners and scholars from all forms of networked performance -- distributed Internet performance (including dance-, theater-, and music-driven works), avatar theater, online performance art, multi-user gaming performance, mixed reality performance, and other hybrid forms.
Multiple institutions and organizations will play a role in the conference. New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc. (NRPA), a not-for-profit media organization. parent of the turbulence.org site, Emerson College, Boston and the State University of California at Monterey Bay (CSUMB) are currently working together to develop the conference. We plan to work with additional organizations that will commission and/or host performances for the conference.
We hope through this blog to obtain a wide range of perspectives on current issues and challenges in performance practice and uncover points of mutual relevance that will help build the content of the conference.
So tell us who you are, what you're doing, what problems you are encountering, and what issues you would like to discuss. Also give us your URL -- we will post it in our links section -- as well as the dates of any upcoming performances.
-- Helen Thorington, NRPA
-- Michelle Riel, CSUMB
Posted by newradio at July 14, 2004 12:52 AM
Hi Helen and Michelle
you've chosen Bastille Day to launch this blog, seems auspicious, good luck with it. I'm one of the founding members of Avatar Body Collision, a cyberformance troupe that uses a variety of open source chat programmes - sometimes combined with live-stage performers - to create networked performances. Further details on the company at www.avatarbodycollision.org. We initially used Palace software, then added webcams, and eventually secured funding to create our own opensource performance-chat software, UpStage (www.upstage.org.nz).
A lot of our problems revolve around time: our distributed performance practices are often painstakingly slow procedures, that have to take account of, for example, different time zones, delayed communication streams, and the eccentricities associated with internet technologies. The time factor acts as a catalyst to create shortcuts, shorthand, accelerated production modes in effort to overcome these barriers. New methods and new skills emerge: I can now type at about 95 words per minute and can multitask while performing from the waist up to camera and operating my avatar(s). In the midst of all this busy-ness, we hit lag or CMC or some technical error and quickly grind to a halt. The rythmn of networked performance is unpredicatable.
Posted by: Karla Ptacek at July 14, 2004 06:28 PM
Best wishes for the blog. This seems like a very timely venture. There is so much interesting work being done in the area between live performance and new technology but it is very disparate and is regularly marginalised by the more backward looking members of the theatre and dance community. Blast Theory is based in London and we have done a series of mixed reality performance works combining participants in a virtual city with others on the streets of the real city. I look forward to following the development of Turbulence.
Posted by: Matt Adams at July 16, 2004 04:54 AM
I've been working on a commercial audio/video performance application called "G" (http://www.yowstar.com/gproduct.php) that incorporates some simple networkability for remote control of other computers running "G". It is simple largely because I'm not sure what direction to take it. My hope is that people try it and comment on what they would like to do with it...
Also, this is a relevant topic for all to know about:
Posted by: yowstar at July 16, 2004 02:51 PM
We decided to produce a performative ethnography and organization instead of just writing about performances. The on-going results are at
I will update this blog on our ongoing conversations about the site, and ask others to post comments about our efforts and I will let our organization folkvine.org know about our participation.
ps: thanks for the blog Helen and Craig (my two contacts/contexts so far)
Posted by: Craig Saper at July 19, 2004 08:37 AM
great idea that blog!
well I apologise but the aim of this post is - albeit focused on networks/performance - slightly personal...
A french artist/writer living in Dublin - Ireland using new technologies/new forms of communication in my
works, I have a current project for a performance dealing with the themes of
networked communication/recycling/data-consumerism/spectacle and simulacrum...
I'd like to know if someone, possibly you, would be aware of an organisation that would have a sponsoring policy regarding this kind
of artistic practises. For this networked performance I'd need to have access
to the following technical tools - I am more or less homeless in Dublin, don't
have even my own pc - mainly:
?>1500 sheets of recycled paper
24h internet access from the room where all that would take place...
Of course, I need these devices only for the time of the performance.
Well, any inquiry is welcome, please contact me if you wish
Posted by: Cyrill Duneau at July 19, 2004 01:04 PM
I've been following the work of Harrell Fletcher and Miranda July for a while now. With the techno-help of Yuri Ono and a Creative Capital grant, their website: www.learningtoloveyoumore.com has reached people all over the world.
One especially interesting thing about the concept is the nature of the 'assignments' they post. Through the internet, they ask people to dig deep into personal memories or look around at their daily lives and create objects that, unlike their virtual medium, is hand-made and present in its physicality.
Fletcher and July are both artists who approach the art world in a rather organic way that comes close to, especially for Fletcher, a kind of democratic socialism. People pay attention and become involved in the community around them because they, through the projects, are personally involved.
American pop culture leads so many of us to take so much for granted--the mass produced replaces the hand-made, the cult of celebrity transplants the virtue of empathy. For this reason, I think these two artists are visionary in their approach of bringing the disconnected back in touch with their own humanity.
Posted by: Laura Lark at July 19, 2004 03:03 PM
This is a good idea -- I hope a lot of people chime in.
For the past year and a half, I've worked with Neutrino (http://neutrinonation.com), who do an improvised, comedic movie in a half-hour in front of a live audience. It's shot with three cameras, at least six actors, and projected before the audience as soon as the tapes are run back to the theatre (a 2 minute lag, roughly). One goal of the group since the very beginning has been to facilitate better communication between the shooting teams during the show, to get it streamed online and to have teams in different locations. At the present time, the show is low cost and low tech and the shooting locations have to be within running distance of the theatre. It's a very exciting show that's received a lot of attention lately; it was featured at the Aspen comedy festival, won the improv group of the year award at the Chicago Improv Festival and will be performed next month at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Any ideas for networking the show between more distant locations, e.g., other cities, would be welcomed.
I've recently moved from edited video art to live, improvised visuals using Keyworx (http://keyworx.org). The a/v community at SHARE (http://share.dj) in New York City has been a valuable resource and very welcoming.
Posted by: Dan Winckler at July 20, 2004 02:48 PM
Hello Helen and Michelle et al,
I am completely intrigued by your proposal as I am currently working on 2 major projects that deal with issues of networked performance. The first is “Elastic Test Project” (www.elastictest.com), an ongoing collaborative performance project with Romanian artist Rozalinda Borcila. The other project, “Un Message Evidemment” (www.unmessage.com), I began with filmmaker John Campbell as an experimental structural film that we have since developed into an open collaborative performance/film through the web. Both projects are in progress and rather volatile in terms of form and ultimate directions they might take. Read on below for more details or point your browser to the web pages. I look forward to the exchange of theories, strategies and structures for networked performance here in coming months.
Elastic Test Project:
The "Elastic Test Project" is a series of collaborative, location-specific performances seeking to disrupt normative definitions of citizen and foreigner. we (that is, the main attendants of the project, Rozalinda Borcila and Robert Lawrence) develop "tests" that re-interpret key aspects of immigration law in different locations, based on collaborative workshops with groups considered either citizens or immigrants. Previous installments of this on-going project were in Houston, Johannesburg and Calgary, documentation can be found at http://www.elastictest.com
We welcome participants and new collaborators interested in examining the normalizing impulse articulated in contemporary culture within the conceptual formation of the national: national identification and nationalism, the performance of naturalization, displacement, migration, xenophobia, state violence, immigration law, national security etc.
This project from the beginning has had an open door for participation through the web, but currently we are looking for ways to decentralize the project in more significant ways. Some issues related to this on which we are cogitating:
1. Given that our interventions require location-specific collaborations, how can the role of trans-local media, networks or distribution channels be re-imagined?
2. How can the project become less centralized? What are some models of de-centered cooperation we can try to implement – what is the advantage of a distributed network of creators in this case?
3. How might considerations of distribution and re-usability expand the current scope of the work?
4. One of the important aspects of the work is initiating and facilitating new relationships between local communities and structures – is this sustainable?
As we continue to evolve this project and develop ways to ‘turn it loose’ we are very interested in engaging in dialogue, theoretical and practical collaborations, and discovering and developing new models for distance collaboration.
Un Message, Evidemment
“Un Message, Evidemment” is an ongoing film and performance. The performance actions are built around the activity of making an interactive collaborative film. The film is a story about communication. The performance is a communication about story. The film is already shot. The film has not been written. The film will be written through mobile phone lines, voice messages, sms’s, email, conversations, random overheard snatches of dialogue and any other sounds produced by the participants of various festivals, seminars, workshops and by visitors to our web site:
The initial film footage was shot on DV in Paris last summer by Robert Lawrence and John Campbell. Additional segments will be shot in Kuala Lumpur, Tampa, Prague, Vienna, New York, Seoul, the Island of Borneo, and other locations to be determined. All the shots are of extreme close-ups of individuals listening to cell phones. In the background of every shot is a dramatic action. No sound is recorded. Ambiences, sound events and score will be added in postproduction.
The ‘story’ will be told entirely in the recorded messages that the foreground characters are listening to on their cell phones. These stories will be selected, synthesized and/or adapted from the contributions at this website and other venues. These stories will be gathered in several ways. Whenever the film in progress is shown at festivals, workshops or any other venue people will be asked to contribute storys by phone, sms, email. Participants will be encouraged to engage the performance on any number of levels.
We are also seeking opportunities to workshop the film doing shooting or writing. The “completed” film provides another dimension of the viewer/performer dynamic. At every stage of production, post-production, and presentation the ‘final form’ of the film will be negotiable. It will be shown in a user interactive form on the web, and in ‘concrete,’ though varying, versions in festivals and the usual film art venues – It may not ever appear in the same form twice.
Well, just in case anybody actually read this far, I would just like to add that I am excited about the possible dialogue that can develop on this blog and the promise of a lively and timely conference to follow.
UNIMAS, Sarawak, Malaysia
USF, Tampa, Florida
Posted by: Robert Lawrence at July 22, 2004 04:33 AM
Thanks to Helen & Michelle for kickstarting this.
I'm very interested in this topic and have been loosely working within it (in a variety of different technologies & modes) since working with live TV and artist satellite broadcasts in the mid-80s. After developing Desktop Theater (with Lisa Brenneis & an international troupe of writers & performers (including Helen of Avatar Body Collision - Hi Helen!)for 5 years, I started to develop a project called SPECFLIC which is taking the form of something I'm calling "distributed cinema" - basically using streams of networked mobile PDAs in the hands of performers and transforming an entire geographical area into a stage and a backdrop simultaneously.
Some of the issues that continue to come up are:
this can be thought of from perspective of participants or from "viewers" - in my experience the "lags" and glitches are all absorbable within the context of a live event. The archiving of this work does not allow for its tension to exist
- relationship of writing to performing, or textuality and orality
this is hugely fascinating to me especially considering the constant evolution of written and spoken language
- use of agitprop to catalyze unexpected engagements
all of my work is engaged within the larger "publc sphere" and cedes a large amount of control to the folks who are engaging with it.
see you all in a thread...
Posted by: Adriene Jenik at July 23, 2004 04:38 PM
Over the past few years I have been developing a series of online and connected performances under the name sister O Operation or sister O divinations.
After spending a significant amount of time 'on line', I avow that mixing in with the physical space is also highly important.
sister O is an digital media divinator, a conduit for the underwater database [[ a realm where, subjugated knowledge's that are unvalidated and censored surface themselves & are mobilised in the physical space]] sister o is a morphing creature who multiplies, and resonates in individual ways depending on the place. sister O often conducts Operation's via the internet, the cellular network often in a trinity Nancy Mauro-Flude with (Linda Dement, Michelle Teran) in order to mobilise information that is kept under the surface, the underwater database .
Often these performance installations are based on real-time digital media processing using collaborative virtual environments with KeyWorx software.
sister O underwater database spills into street, gallery and theatre spaces.
electrik - theatrik operation 2003 August :
8 hour performance installation connected between Theatrum Anatomicum Amsterdam and ArtSpace Gallery Sydney. The 8 hour performance was divided into seven sections.
: : : sister O media divination : : :
sister O hosts a day of digital media divinations.
People brought in a hard copy of a photo or on a cd, images in the format of .jpeg [also emailed them] or found an appropriate image on the google data base. sister O released these into another state with her computer as a divination tool, also giving a 'reading' of the media present to her and a print out (or returned email) of this new state...
People emailed in an image via the virtual network format it as a .jpeg (qtimes were also ok).
[ give time for the media to go through the porhole eg.: the image can be anything you think needs changed into another state: personal , political etc. ]
[You don't have to be there physically in order for sister O to conduct a reading ] she sent back a copy of the changed media state and a description of the processes she used to change the media to the new state.
Posted by: nancy mauro-flude at July 26, 2004 07:08 AM
Hi Helen, Jo-Anne and all,
great project! i'm looking forward to seeing how things manifest by spring/summer '06...
my personal interest would be connecting the dots between the future and the past of networked/collaborative performance. can we advance today's efforts in distance collaboration through global and local digital networks by studying similar ambitions in earlier networked media?
my background is live audiovisual performance. the history of this discipline still hasn't been written, so as a country boy i drew inspiration and guidance from other collaborative arts: live music, underground comix 'jams' and performance art. Laurie Anderson, "Good Morning Mr. Orwell" and Youngblood's "Expanded Cinema" were key triggers too.
i'm curious how networked performance artists on this blog developed their art. how did you get into networked performance; what was your inspiration and how did you map the territory - firsthand R&D or study of past masters?
Posted by: Benton-C Bainbridge at July 28, 2004 02:45 PM
Great to see all of the activity here!
I am working on a multilocation networked audio performance called Simultaneous Translation which will involve players from USA, Spain, France, Italy and Germany.
The first performance is slated for November 2004 in Madrid Spain. Other manifestations are planned for NYC and Trondheim Norway. I hope to keep the project expanding and changing over a long period of time.
I am from a fine arts background and have always moved between various media: painting, drawing, sound art, installation, web, etc. Collaboration is an important part of my work, which I see as a means of furthering the artistic aims the individuals while mutating those aims and aesthetics into new forms. Networked performance is a perfect vehicle for collaboration as it allows for artists who have never met to work on the same project quickly and in "real time". It is this "real time" that my project tries to exploit. In my first foray into networked performance entitled NEGATIVE SPACE
it was the limitations of the streaming media which made the project difficult and exciting. This lag and flux is the starting point of SIMULTANEOUS TRANSLATION in which the idea of flux and slippage is put in the forefront and is compared to the slippages and mutations of language as it evolves. Another point of comparison is to the delays that occur on the web as data passes from router hop to router hop. In fact traceroute data will be used to manipulate audio streams from the remote participants, making the delay of the internet itself an active player in the project.
For a more comprehensive (and cohesive!) overview of the project please visit the website.
We are in the process of seeking funding for this project, so if you have any suggestions please let me know! THANKS!
Posted by: John Roach at July 30, 2004 12:54 PM