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March 02, 2007




NEW THURSDAY CLUB on 8 MARCH with SUE BROADHURST :: Supported by the Goldsmiths DIGITAL STUDIOS and the Goldsmiths GRADUATE SCHOOL :: 6pm until 8pm, Lecture Theatre at Ben Pimlott Building (Ground Floor, right), Goldsmiths, University of London, New Cross, SE14 6NW :: FREE, ALL ARE WELCOME.

DIGITAL PRACTICES: Performance and technology in all its divergent forms is an emergent area of performance practice which reflects a certain being in the world - a Zeitgeist; in short, it provides a reflection of our contemporary world at the beginning of the twenty-first century. In a relatively short period of time there has been an explosion of new technologies that have infiltrated all areas of life and irrevocably altered our lives. Consequences of this technological permeation are both ontological and epistemological, and not without problems as we see our world change from day to day.

Exemplary digital practices are Blue Bloodshot Flowers (2001), featuring an avatar called Jeremiah, Merce Cunningham’s Biped (2000) with its virtual dancers, and Stelarc’s “obsolete body”; in film, the digital innovation and creativity of The Matrix trilogy (1999-2003) and the Star Wars prequels (1999-2005); in sound and new media interactive practices, the digitally manipulated sound of Optik, the “intermedia” of Palindrome, and the “electronic disturbance” of Troika Ranch; and in Bioart, the “recombinant theater” of Critical Arts Ensemble, and the “phenotypical reprogramming” and “functional portraits” of Marta de Menezes.

In my opinion the quintessential features within much of this performance demand a new mode of analysis which foregrounds the inherent tensions between the physical and virtual. These practices, in different ways, emphasize the body and technology in performance and they explode the margins between the physical and virtual and what is seen as dominant traditional art practices and innovative technical experimentation. Therefore, my main premise is the exploration and investigation into the physical/virtual interface so prevalent within the digital.

As a development of my previous theorization on liminality I believe that aesthetic theorization is central to this analysis. However, other approaches are also valid, particularly, those offered by recent research into cognitive neuroscience, particularly in relation to the emergent field of “neuro-esthetics” where the primary objective is to provide “an understanding of the biological basis of aesthetic experience” (Zeki 1999).

SUE BROADHURST is a writer and performance practitioner, Reader in Drama and Technology, and the Head of Drama Studies in the School of Arts, Brunel University, West London. She is author of Liminal Acts: A Critical Overview of Contemporary Performance and Theory, London: Cassell/New York: Continuum, 1999, Digital Practices: Aesthetic and Neuroesthetic Approaches to Performance and Technology (forthcoming, 2007), Performance and Technology: Practices of Virtual Embodiment and Interactivity (Palgrave MacMillan, 2006) together with various articles including ‘Interaction, Reaction and Performance: The Jeremiah Project’, The Drama Review, MIT Press 48, (4): 47-57. Sue is currently working on a series of collaborative practice based research projects entitled, “Intelligence, Interaction, Reaction and Performance,” which involve introducing various interactive digital technologies into live performance including, artificial intelligence, 3D film, modeling and animation, and motion tracking. She is also editor of the on-line journal.

...and the last Thursday Club of this term will be on


International and award winning artists igloo create intermedia artworks, led by Ruth Gibson & Bruno Martelli.

‘In the mid-sixties, Fluxus artists began using the term 'intermedia' to describe work that was ....composed of multiple media. The term highlights the intersection of artistic genres and has gradually emphasized performative work and projects that employ new technologies.’ [Marisa Olson - Rhizome.org]

igloo projects are created with teams of highly skilled practitioners drawn primarily from performance, music, design, architecture, costume, computer science and technology backgrounds. Their work combines film, video, motion capture technology, music and performance with digital technology. The work is developed in a variety of formats and made for distribution across a range of platforms, including gallery installation, internet sites, large and small scale performance and Cd Rom.

THE THURSDAY CLUB is an open forum discussion group for anyone interested in the theories and practices of cross-disciplinarity, interactivity, technologies and philosophies of the state-of-the-art in today’s (and tomorrow’s) cultural landscape(s).

To find Goldsmiths check http://www.goldsmiths.ac.uk/find-us/

Posted by jo at March 2, 2007 10:49 AM