[iDC] Some things about performance

Gere, Charlie c.gere at lancaster.ac.uk
Thu Sep 21 10:30:43 EDT 2006

Like a sleeping dog whose ears prick up when he hears himself being called, I glimpsed my name in Sergio's post, and, flattered as I am by the mention, just want to nuance what I said about Performance. I was trying to suggest that Performance was both a product of and a resistence to burgeoning digital culture. This is the quote from the book

...whatever their individual content or treatments performance works are united by a shared consideration of context and methods. Central to any performance is the question of the space in which it takes place and the means by which it is articulated, often centred on the artist's body as both location and means. Such work concerns the media, in the sense of that which mediates a communication, and how that mediation affects the message. It is no coincidence that modern Performance Art emerged at a time when electronic media were initiating what the Italian philosopher Gianni Vattimo describes as an 'society of generalized communication'. To some extent Performance can be understood as a pre-emptive defensive reaction, emphasizing the corporeal and embodied as well as the ephemeral and the physically located, as a form of resistance to the immateriality, ubiquity and virtuality of mass media and communications, which had taken over so much of art's role as the provider of aesthetic solace and meaning. But Performance can also be seen as rehearsing many issues that later become relevant to electronic and, in particular, digital media. These included questions of interaction, response, feedback, the relationship between the audience and the performance, the methods for combining different media elements and so on. Much of the visual and interactive grammar of modern electronic media, such as television and digital multimedia of various sorts derives from the work of those involved with performance and other, similar areas. Those working in these areas were among the first to explore the possibilities offered by electronic media, first in video and then in digital technology. Many of those involved in developing Performance as an artistic practice are currently involved in media art practice. But, even before the widespread use of technology these practices offered a framework for thinking about multimedia, interactivity and other issues, as well as offering an artistic and poetic matrix through which to think about their use. 


Charlie Gere 
Reader in New Media Research
Director of Research
Institute for Cultural Research 
Lancaster University Lancaster LA1 4YL UK
Tel: +44 (0) 1524 594446
E-mail: c.gere at lancaster.ac.uk

-----Original Message-----
From: idc-bounces at bbs.thing.net [mailto:idc-bounces at bbs.thing.net] On Behalf Of sergio basbaum
Sent: 21 September 2006 13:42
To: john sobol; iDC at bbs.thing.net
Subject: Re: [iDC] Some things about performance

John, Trebor, list

I can´t help asking about the relations that can traced between informational tecnologies and digital culture (in the sense Charlie Gere sugested in an amazing book) and art forms such as "instalation"
and "performance", these words are so intimately conected with the values and operations of technological culture.

The instalation of a controled / calculable techno-cosmos (over the demands of cultural openess indetermination)

The productive and efficient performance which is expected from us all
- as intelectuals, artists, lovers, workers, children, etc.

Sometimes I think that, once we are now completely immersed in this digital environment,  such names should be changed for something that is not so much aligned with dominant values.

Once they were not. Maybe it is time to find new labels. I even ask myself if such words can give account of what is really happening...

best for all

Sérgio Basbaum

On 9/21/06, john sobol <john at johnsobol.com> wrote:
> performance as knowledge motor
> as enacting
> vs.
> performance as normative category
> as metaphor
> performance as practice
> vs.
> 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?
> how
> 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 casually 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
> actors
> 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 
> 'things'?
> 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
> (www.durothethird.com)
> 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.) performance 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 
> creativity i make no claims it's just some thing i saw
> js
> --
> www.johnsobol.com
> bluesology * printopolis * digitopia
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