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Defining a research subject in Computational arts and performance

Common research

Getting together with peers from different backgrounds, but common interests opened up fruitful discussions. Coming from an architectural and planning background, but with a strong interest in theater and stage set design, I am very excited about the collaboration with students from theater and performance backgrounds.

Our first conversations have let the subject open and in need of definition, but allowed us to start pointing to questions, and to exchange references and concepts.

Aqua Alta, Adrien M. Claire B, 2019

Just a tool?

As we saw in the weekly readings up until now, the tools that we are exposed to, that we design and use, are never “just tools”. This also applies to performances and the way they are delivered to an audience. Those implications can be political, and part of what forges perception on an individual and collective scale. In the case of using new technologies, this is particularly striking, for the device used, can become a core part of the performance. It is not only an interface, but it can itself be staged, to raise consciousness on the use of technologies in our everyday lives. The device and the subject are very closely intertwined.

Time and space redefined

Thinking about new technologies in performance, and in particular in theater, could lead to a necessity to define and possibly redefine them.

What is it that triggers a particular emotion in live performance, that differentiates it from other media? Is it solely the liveliness of it? Is it to see it with your own senses?

How could this be augmented with the use of new devices, triggering additional senses, and therefore interacting in more dimensions. What could be the minimal conditions to define a theatrical performance? Does it require an audience that is sharing a space? What is the relation between the performer and the audience? What does it mean to be participatory? Could new technologies allow performances to be more fluid regarding the spaces they take place in? Taking them to the urban space, possibly to the rural space?

What does it imply to interact with an audience? Should they become part of a narration, maybe direct it, or embody it in a certain way?

Performances, experiences are widely used with a commercial goal, using the fascination for gadgets as an efficient marketing tool. How can artists take back that space, making the vanishing of technologies in our daily lives visibles, and provoking the spectator to reflect upon it.

Those chaotic sets of questions (among many others) fed our preliminary discussions, that hopefully will crystallise in a more focused research topic.

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