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PARIP 2005

International Conference | 29 June - 03 July 2005

Reiser: Michaela | UK

My practice could be described as ‘live performed sound installation’, and brings together digital media, sound installation art and movement based activity. In the workshop at Parip 2005, I will use digital media technology to link a performers body data to sound generation software. In this setup I will explore the relationship between performer and space, and his/her perception of ‘presence’. I want to explore a collaborative approach to practice that sites it between artist, audience and researcher, and to further practice through discourse and peer review.

Possible contributions to knowledge are in the development of new work in form and content; the critical review of current working practices, and in furthering a practice based research methodology as a model for other practitioners.

Philip Auslander writes that media tools do not invade performance but they are absorbed, together with their ideology. Although this absorbtion might seem inevitable to some it is not a straightforward process as the two underlying philosophical positions clash. How does this affect each field? Perfomance practitioners have already invested much thought in this, digital media practitioners seem less influenced. But how do live and mediated parts work with each other in a mixed-mode practice? Can performative work be made with tools developed for representation? Are the decisive moments when the audience cannot distinguish anymore between live and mediated content? And does such a distinction still make sense?

Further concerns derive directly from my practice and highlight why peer review and collaborative practices need to me explored to develop work further. Using biofeedback sensors I access activities of a participant’s body such as breathing, heart rate, and stress levels. Made audible, these activities reveal bodily and mental states that consciously and sub-consciously affect a person.

  • The  work retains an area where the outcomes are unpredictable as biofeedback data can not be controlled entirely. It might show details a participant might want to suppress. Revealing the limits of mental control is however an important aspect of this work. Where are the ethical limits to such practice? How can they be explored through collaboration?
  • As the aim is to engage the audience via the body of the performer, it is important to explore this connection. How is it perceived by the performer, by the audience member? Do audience members feel like emotionally engaged?
  • How do performers perceive their presence in the installation space, and how are the biofeedback devices perceived? What influence does the use of technology have on the reception of the work?
  • Some areas of digital media practice, such as mine, are concerned with improvisation and performance. However, practitioners are often asked to explain their practice to the audience.  Why is such an explanation deemed necessary? How is it perceived by the audience? How much would an audience need explained? Could the need for this scenario be averted through a different relationship with an audience? A new way of practice?
  • This leads to investigating the siting of the work. What are the social codes of behavior in an interactive installation, in a performance? How important is it to maintain these codes for the audience to concentrate on the content rather than a (new) form? What benefits could be gained by new practice?
  • If working practices change and traditional staged ‘outputs’ dissappear, how can work be documented?

Auslander, Philip 1999 Liveness: Performance in a Mediatized Culture, London p.33














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