June 29, 2012
Harrell Fletcher’s Where I’m Calling From @ BMW Tate Live

Last night saw the fourth streamed performance from the Tate Live series with a peformance by Harrell Fletcher (or was it?). The artist invited a busker to the Tate performance space to sing some songs and answer question about his life, at no point did we see the artist we just heard his voice raising the question (certainly among those on Twitter) who was performing? I don’t have issue with this, the artist provided the opportunity, context and framing for the performance and done well that can be clever. But from the outset the performance seems to have been misrepresented/miscommunicated. The Tate advertised the event as follows:

Artist Harrell Fletcher invites buskers to take their performances from the tube stations and streets of London into the gallery to play live, online…Harrell Fletcher’s work often takes the form of socially engaged collaborative and interdisciplinary projects. With Where I’m Calling From, buskers will shift from playing to a local London audience to performing on a global online stage. By moving these musicians from tube station, to gallery space, and then back out to the world through the web, Harrell Fletcher aims to question value, and the influence of the internet.

This reads well and actually pulled me in once again to watch, thinking that the “global space” of the London Underground as the curators called it would be compared in ways to something like Marc Auge’s non-places, e.g. airports as global not local places. Architecturally the London Underground isn’t that but it is a melting pots of cultures in transition so I had ideas in my head that we might hear music representing all those cultures, perhaps a cacophony of them giving a sense of their proximity, competetiveness etc. This didn’t happen, instead we only saw one busker and there was no sense of the local London. I had more of a sense of Stanley Prospere/Bill Jackson’s (the musician) place of birth, Saint Lucia, and his life since moving to London because this essentially became a documentary about him and not at all about the mapping of a globalised local space into the global ‘space’ of the internet.

Less of a failed networked performance this time this performance really seems like a missed opportunity on the part of the artist particularly when there seemed so clear and strong an idea behind it.

There is an interesting write up about networked performance and the Tate’s controversial statement that it is “the only place you can see art made for you to view at home” by Helen Varley Jamieson on Turbulence called we are making art to view at home …. Well worth a read.

Posted by: Garrett @ 9:13 pm
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June 14, 2012
Call for papers and performances

Remote Encounters: Connecting bodies, collapsing spaces and temporal ubiquity in networked performance

keywords: performance, networked, body, space, place, time, real, virtual

URL: http://remote-encounters.tumblr.com/

Since the internet entered the public domain in the early 90′s there has been an explosion in artistic interest in its use as a means, site and context for creative practice. Much of this practice is performative in nature; ether originating from a performance background and using the internet as a new site and/or augmenting aspect of that practice or is a form of practice developed as direct response to the internet and becomes performative to some degree in its spectatorship.

It has been well established that the internet is not the first or only example of the use of a networked technology repurposed for creative practice. There is a clear time line that can be traced back through the practice of Roy Ascott and his coining of the term Telematic Art in the 1980′s to artist’s use of satellite networks, telephone and other telecommunication devices as each were invented. Seen in this respect the internet can be considered as one of many networked technologies that has enabled networked performance.

The internet is unique however in that it is not a singular network type that favours a particular form of media, broadcast or spectatorship. Most famously known as the network of networks it enables multiple protocols of which the world wide web’s http is just one, is multimedia in nature and encourages intertextual folding and layering of media, is multi-directional not simply a broadcast communication form, de-centralised in ownership and the majority of its technologies are openly accessible.

Remote Encounters, a two-day international conference with performance evening, aims to explore the use of networks as a means to enhance or create a wide variety of performance arts. How do networks as a site for performance provide opportunities for us as artists and performers? In particular how can we remotely collaborate, merge geographically separate places and times, reconfigure the space of performance and the relationship between artist and audience?

:: Call for papers and performances ::

Contributions are invited from practitioners and academics for papers and performances that contextualise current networked performance themes and issues both historically and across the spectrum of different types of networks, explore the wealth of performance opportunities offered by the internet and give a sample of future directions for networked performance.

Topics may include, but will not be limited to, the following:

Bodies and identity:

  • Virtual identities and real bodies;
  • Self projection as other;
  • Hardware, software and wetware – networked bodies;
  • The female body and the remote gaze;
  • Gender and role play;
  • Robots and cyborgs.

New sites, new narratives, new genre:

  • Networks as new sites of opportunism;
  • Networked spaces as new territories;
  • Transmedia storytelling, new narratives;
  • Mixed reality narratives;
  • Personal and private spaces as public venue;
  • First, second and third person narratives;
  • Intertextuality.

The relationship between artist and audience:

  • Primary and secondary audiences, local and global;
  • Audience as performer;
  • Interactive performances and breaking down the fourth wall;
  • The transformation of audience to user;
  • Strategies and levels of engagement;
  • The network as a means for converging and collaborative practice.

Tools and technologies:

  • Democratisation of form and presentation;
  • Subverting networked communication media;
  • Alternative and community based networks;
  • Tubes and streams, from public access television to webcasting;
  • Virtual worlds and video gaming;
  • Social networking as performance;
  • Pervasive and locative performance;
  • Physical interfaces and feedback;
  • Telephony and SMS messaging.

We are particularly interested in live performance proposals, existing or new, that employ OpenSim and as such could take advantage of a large space provided by the organisers.

For further details and an informal chat contact Garrett Lynch (glynch[at]glam[dot]ac[dot]uk) or Inga Burrows (iburrows[at]glam[dot]ac[dot]uk)

:: Submissions ::

Deadline: 4pm (GMT), Friday 31/08/12

Proposals are now being accepted for paper presentations and live performances delivered both at the venue and remotely. Your proposal should take the form of an OpenOffice (.odf), Word (.doc), .pdf or .rtf document only.

Proposals for papers should include the following:

  • An abstract (500 words maximum including bibliography);
  • A short bio (200 words maximum);
  • Full name and full contact details;
  • State whether your proposal is for participation on site or remotely.

Proposal for performances should include the following:

  • A description of the work (500 words maximum);
  • Accompanying media that may include video, images or sound to give us an idea of the proposed work provided online or on CD/DVD;
  • A short bio (200 words maximum) with examples of previous works provided online or on CD/DVD;
  • Artist(s) / group / performer(s) name and full contact details;
  • A full list of required equipment. Note that where possible we will provide equipment however the event will host several performances so highly complex configurations and lengthy set-up times cannot be catered for. Please contact us before making a proposal to discuss requirements;
  • State whether your proposal is for participation on site or remotely. If remotely performing please also state your networked environment of choice.

Send proposals to Garrett Lynch:

Email: glynch[at]glam[dot]ac[dot]uk (proposals as zipped attachments less than 10mb).

Dropbox: https://www.dropbox.com/ (account – glynch[at]glam[dot]ac[dot]uk)

Post: Garrett Lynch, ATRiuM, Cardiff School of Creative & Cultural Industries, University of Glamorgan, Adam Street, Cardiff, Wales, CF24 2FN.

:: Conference information ::

Early bird fee – academic affiliated £80, non-affiliated £40
Late fee – academic affiliated £100, non-affiliated £50

Full registration details will be announced at a later date. Attending conference participants will be required to cover their own travel and if required, accommodation expenses. Travel information as well as a list of affordable hotels will be posted on the conference website.

Location: ATRiuM, Cardiff School of Creative & Cultural Industries, University of Glamorgan, Adam Street, Cardiff, Wales, CF24 2FN.

Date: 11th – 12th of April 2013

Posted by: Garrett @ 3:46 pm
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June 1, 2012
The telematic performances of Annie Abrahams

I’ve been waiting quite some time to post on the telematic performances of Annie Abrahams mainly to watch how her performances developed and gather a selection of videos which give an impression of her practice. So here goes, attempting to work through a selection of works chronologically, according to when they have been uploaded to Vimeo but more importantly showing the wealth of ideas and collaborations which are at the core of Abrahams practice.

The first work is The Big Kiss (image and video above), a performance installation by Annie Abrahams in 2008 which lasted three hours as part of Over The Opening, a once a month time based arts event organised by the artist collective MTAA. Members of the public were invited to collaborate with Abrahams telematically by kissing in the same video space but from different geographical spaces facilitated by streaming video. The puposee of the performance is descibed as follows by the artist:

What’s contact in a machine mediated world? What’s the power of the image? How does it feel to kiss without touching? Does the act change because we see it? What does it mean to construct an image with your tongue? And is there still desire? Does the act provoke it? What’s contact in a machine mediated world?

Double Blind (love) (video above), a collaboration between Abrahams living room in Montpellier, France and Curt Cloninger at Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center, Asheville, North Carolina, US took place in November 2009 and lasted 4 hours 24 minutes. The performance was a telematic duet with both performers repeatedly singing “love, love, love” (a short excerpt from U2′s Until the End of the World):

In order to isolate them from their surroundings and make them more attentive to the other, they were both blindfolded. While singing they evolved and mutated the original song excerpt, collaborating and communicating in a space/time of alterity. The artists have never met each other in the flesh.

There was no set duration. They sang until the last one of them decided to stop. In both places a space was reserved for the live performance and another for the video and audio projection. A camera was fixed on each of their faces singing to each other. This live video of both faces was projected both in the Living Room space and in the Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center space. The performance was also visible on the web.

Shared Still Life / Nature Morte Partagé (video above, image below) was shown within the context of Abrahams exhibition, If Not You Not Me, at HTTP Gallery, London in 2010. It is without a doubt my prefered work by Abrahams due to it’s complex treatment of classic art theme in a beautifully simple way. The artist describes the work as follows, it is:

a telematic still life for mixed media and LED message board. Visitors to HTTP Gallery are invited to communicate with those at Kawenga – territoires numériques a media arts space in Montpellier, France by arranging objects in the still life and sending messages to one another, with the results visible in a projection in both galleries.

Collaboration (August 13th 2010 5PM) is the eigth of nine five minute domestic streaming performances in the context of A Meeting is a Meeting is a Meeting (video above); the first series of online remote conversations between Annie Abrahams and Antye Greie. The work, a collaboration, deals with the subject of collaboration and misunderstandings caused by language and medium.

Mutant II, a 4 minute extract of Huis Clos / No Exit – On Collaboration (video above) is:

a telematic performance / experiment investigating communication and relational dynamics in a dispersed group with 6 actors.

Abrahams descibes the work as follows:

Six actors perform, each in its own webcam station or with a portable webcam station or from home, a performance protocol. The images and sounds of their webcams are brought together in one video projection. From their isolated positions, scattered in space, they share a space of expression and responsibility, a playground, a laboratory. The actors, on the edge between performance and theater will evolve in an erupted yet shared presentation space, they will work out their privacy in a public presentation space and become manipulators of their own image.

Oppera Internettikka РProtection et S̩curit̩ (video above), an internet opera, is a collaboration with Igor Stromajer (previous posted about here). The work:

explores the poetics of a contemporary sound form — opera as a sound event for the audience in the form of a live internet audio broadcast. In that way it combines the notion of the world wide web communication protocols and classical artspace — an opera house. Opera is a very strictly coded form of art with a lot of passion, and internet is a lonely place of solitude and intimate communication which is becoming more and more fragile, dangerous and suspicious.

Telematic Local Touch / Toucher Télématique Local (video above, image below) is in many ways the opposite of many of Abrahams telematic works which deal with distance, remoteness, crossing time and space etc. In Telematic Local Touch, two telematic performers in the same space but out of reach of each other act on each other in a shared video space. The artist describes the performance as follows:

In a Hirshorn like installation (who’s work I like) Sébastien Nourry joined me in the challenge of keeping our arms in the air for 30 minutes, of touching a stranger in a vacuum, of creating together an image of a touch. He freely submitted to a physical constraint, which recalls those suffered by our body during our daily computer use.

The image of this touch became an image of praying, of fighting, of ridicule, of worship, of…
The public invited to support us in this physical ordeal took liberties, manipulated us, made us into puppets while taking care to keep the touch intact all throughout the 30 minutes. We let them do this, preferring the changes in tension of our muscles due to these manipulations over the severity and the pain of a fixed pose.

Lastily is the work Abrahams has most recently been working on, Angry Women (video above). The work deals with language, nationality, anger/frustration (perhaps at technology?) and employs women Abrahams describes as having met:

sometime, somewhere via the internet and whose work is related to computer, performance, writing and or contemporay art practice.

The work is:

12 Minutes long 9 women in front of their webcams, connected via a common interface to internet, will express their anger, their irritations. In contrast with the four previous performances in the Angry Women series, this time, the women will be able to act on their presence in the interface – this way they will try to get as close as possible to their anger.

For further reading on Abrahams work see the interview by Maria Chatzichristodoulou for Digimag 58, October 2010.

Posted by: Garrett @ 4:01 pm
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