[iDC] Some things about performance

john sobol john at johnsobol.com
Thu Sep 21 00:12:19 EDT 2006

performance as knowledge motor
as enacting
performance as normative category
as metaphor

performance as practice
performance as theory

it's my opinion
that you can't learn about the latter without living the former
and that performance praxis must be the epicentre of performative wisdom

what do people actually do?

do people actually communicate?

*	*	*

i really liked Trebor's short list of situated technological behaviours 
in his recent post
a bunch of samples from his life
a sequence lifted from experience
and performed in print

(Anaïs Nin called print "the second tasting")

I'd like to learn about situated technologies that way
about emerging technologies that way
as an accretion of incremental observations of local behavioural changes
rather than barking ahistorical bafflegab, like:

> "At the crack of millennia, performativity guides innumerable processes
> ranging from the intricacies of class, race, ethnic, gender, and sexual
> identification to the large-scale installations of technologies,
> organizations and cultures."Perform- or else" is a challenge made in 
> the
> USA and now restoring itself worldwide through innumerable circuits...

'perform or else' is not a tyranny created in and exported by the 
united states –
it is the lifeblood of every performative condition around the world

any and every action requires enacting
you do have to perform
to just do it
(to live, to try to live)
or else

and it's not a macho thing
women birthing babies must perform somehow
babies themselves must perform
and as they grow they learn first to 'act out'
and then to 'act up'
and lastly to 'act their age'
and then they're fully grown
each of us acting
performing our lives
aware of the narrative
the narratives
utterly dependent on them always

the important question for this list has to be: what does this have to 
do with distributed creativity? with technological situatedness? with 

i think that what matters is exactly the things we do
the acts we perform

sure words are important
because words can be acts
especially – always in fact, – when they are spoken
but not at all always when written
many written words are the opposite of acts
they are defenses against acts
against action

Trebor's literary derive described encounters with 'things people do'
his vignettes felt situated
even tho i couldn't tell you where any of them happened without 
checking the post
but i experienced them as connected to real places

like, to me, this is the epitome of a certain kind of complex 
contemporary performance:

my good friend, the hardest of the hard, Duro3
gets paid to go to the slickest clubs and to photograph partiers
i watched him move through a club one night like a magnet
glammed up guys and girls preening at him
not that Duro3 gives a shit about any of that
but they pose and the flash from his 10 megapixel camera blinds us
Duro3 whips his camera around in that instant
and the partiers open their eyes into a fat LCD screen
displaying their own image
Duro3 deadpans as the partiers stare
if they like it he keeps it
if not he deletes it without a thought
and takes another
til its right

it knocked me out

they are performers
at each other's service
maybe not a stretch for the libidinous partiers who are there to 
perform anyway
but Duro3's kinetic approach utterly subverted the traditional power 
dynamics of photographic portraiture
all in a moment

and of course the shots are online the next day
on one of the club's online photo galleries
locating the ongoing (via message boards, forwarded emails, myspace or 
facebook links to friends, selves, strangers, etc.)
in a locale, a business, a brand
successfully performing a cross-platform strategy
hybridity for profit and fun

so what is that?
something to talk about maybe
maybe even some kind of distributed performative situated public 
i make no claims
it's just some thing i saw


bluesology • printopolis • digitopia
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