Digital Performance

Corpus Corvus: Exploring Contemporary Mythos Through Immersive Media Poetics by Heather Raikes/ A field (of interconnected realities: cyber drawing and mash-up electronic goodness by Paula Roush and Maria Lusitano/ The Digital Contamination of Dramatic Theatre: Subject Technology in Exception by Gorkem Acaroglu
Sunday, 18 September, 2011 - 14:45 - 16:05
Chair Person: 
Heather Kapplow
Heather Raikes
Paula Roush
Maria Lusitano
Gorkem Acaroglu

Corpus Corvus: Exploring Contemporary Mythos Through Immersive Media Poetics

by Heather Raikes

Corpus Corvus is a mixed reality performance artwork that explores contemporary mythos through immersive media technologies.  The research is a multi-faceted engagement with posthuman embodiment, augmented/mixed reality, digital performance, and immersive media composition.  Corpus Corvus utilizes stereoscopic 3D projection, motion capture animation, an integrated physical/media choreographic vocabulary, and electroacoustic composition to explore the Pacific Northwest Native American myth of the raven as god and thief who steals the sun and creates the universe. 

The title Corpus Corvus refers to the body of the raven. The piece traverses the landscape of the Corpus Corvus through dilations into ten corporeal dimensions: formation, throat, wing, eye, talon, belly, heart, spine, brain, dissolution.  Each of the ten segments articulates a densely integrated 3-dimensional kinesthetic-audio-visual composition, which I refer to as somatic media architectures

Formally, the piece explores the relationship between movement of a physical body and animation in a digital stereoscopic 3-dimensional image field.  Through use of theatrical lighting and projection techniques in conjunction with stereoscopy, the body and animation are perceived to occupy the same 3-dimensional space. This physical-virtual dance is accompanied by a sound score based upon ravens’ vocalizations abstracted through human imitation and technological processing. The cumulative instantiation of performative embodiment spans a dynamic spectrum from the animalic to the immaterial. 

This paper presents documentation of the performance work, discusses the research objectives underscoring its construction, and introduces the neopoetic immersive media language system that informs its composition.  The foundational ground for the neopoetic system is the Poetics of Aristotle and its relation to the ancient Greek theater as a practical systemic ideology for the Greek drama.  As Aristotle’s Poetics posits six basic components for the construction of drama (plot, character, thought, diction, song, and spectacle), the neopoetic system has six constituent aspects: expanded embodiment, experiential metaphor, technoetic mythos, matrix architecture, perceptual resonance, and the rheomode*.   In summary, the neopoetic system unfolds from the posthuman physical-virtual body and extends the human sensory system into immersive media perceptual hyperspaces.

 *a term coined by quantum physicist David Bohm that means “flowing language” and describes “the language of the quantum wave.” 

A field (of interconnected realities: cyber drawing and mash-up electronic goodness

by Paula Roush and Maria Lusitano

In this paper, we propose to reflect upon the practice of drawing  in the context of cyberformance. We present and analyse the project “A field of interconnected  realities” that was shown in Auckland, part of the public art Project Living Room 2010. The webcam operators, Paula Roush in Auckland  and Maria Lusitano in Malmo,  collaborated  through webcams  in  the development  of a series of networked  drawing performances, inspired in the artist’s book “A week of goodness” made by Max Ernst in 1934. In this collage book, Ernst had arranged and re-drawn cut-up  images of women, men, animals, dragons,  plants, and indoor /outdoor situations, to produce hybrid bodies and surreal landscapes, that presented a dark, surreal world addressing themes of sexuality, anti-clericalism  and war. These collages,  by dislocating the visual significance of the source material, tried to suggest what  had been repressed. Revisiting these  images, we produced new networked collages and drawings  in  a networked   performative process that included a collaboration with  the  public. Relying on  techniques such as hand drawing, drawing with the use of sketch-a-graph ( a machine that can both enlarge and reduce an image whilst copying it), water colour, acrylic  painting and collage,  we produced revised bio-tech versions of that book,  addressing the new unconscious phantasies, dreams,  fears and expectations  of our zeit geist.  The outputs of this project are the networked  drawings  and also the 5 films that resulted from  documenting the production of each drawing. 

 This collective project, which placed drawing into a disruptive new situation,  challeged the usual characteristics  atributed to this medium.  It addressed  the dream  fantasies of the past, placing them  into the  present  (through the mashing up of Max Ernst’s images  book with contemporary ones ), and revisited the various historical devices that have been commonly used to make drawings. The glitches, pixelisation and splitting of the images produced by the webcamstreaming device, introduced a new puzzling  time/space dimensionality to this experience and served as a trope/interface to the production of a contemporary dreaming space where  the new collages/ drawings revisit the collective  unconscious fears and fantasies of today.

The Digital Contamination of Dramatic Theatre: Subject Technology in Exception 

by Gorkem Acaroglu

Dramatic theatre claims that it is a unique site of literal co-presence while asking audiences to forget their own presence and give precedence to a closed fictional world ‘made present’ by the auratic actor. Two contemporary performance practices unsettle this notion - digital performance, where technology challenges the position of the actor as central; and live art or participatory performance that places the audience at the centre of the performance encounter. Although contemporary practitioners often rally against the prejudices of dramatic theatre, an understanding of its core assumptions can benefit emergent forms and prevent them from replicating those aspects deemed problematic in traditional practice. An awareness of literal, fictional and auratic presence as mediation can enable a richer theatrical encounter. I draw on Derrida’s analysis of the metaphysics of presence to establish the centrality of presence in a significant amount of commentary on theatre, arguing that such a privileging of presence demonises projected media as a form of contamination that impedes dramatic theatre’s ability to represent ‘truth’. While much has been theorised about presence in theatre, my position is that of a practitioner grappling with the problems that a privileging of presence brings to my work. Through a close look at a hybrid work that utilises the integration of live performers with avatars from the virtual multi-user on-line game, Second Life, I seek a way to move forward between conditions of possibility and impossibility.