Digital Performance: A History of New Media in Theater, Dance, Performance Art, and Installation (Leonardo Book Series)

By Steve Dixon

The previous decade has visible an awfully severe interval of experimentation with computing device expertise in the acting arts. electronic media has been more and more included into stay theater and dance, and new types of interactive functionality have emerged in participatory installations, on CD-ROM, and on the internet. In Digital Performance, Steve Dixon strains the evolution of those practices, offers targeted bills of key practitioners and performances, and analyzes the theoretical, creative, and technological contexts of this type of latest media artwork. Dixon unearths precursors to modern-day electronic performances in earlier types of theatrical know-how that variety from the deus ex machina of classical Greek drama to Wagner's Gesamtkunstwerk (concept of the entire artwork), and attracts parallels among modern paintings and the theories and practices of Constructivism, Dada, Surrealism, Expressionism, Futurism, and multimedia pioneers of the 20 th century.

For a theoretical viewpoint on electronic functionality, Dixon attracts at the paintings of Philip Auslander, Walter Benjamin, Roland Barthes, Jean Baudrillard, and others. To record and study modern electronic functionality perform, Dixon considers alterations within the illustration of the physique, house, and time. He considers digital our bodies, avatars, and electronic doubles, in addition to performances through artists together with Stelarc, Robert Lepage, Merce Cunningham, Laurie Anderson, Blast thought, and Eduardo Kac. He investigates new media's novel methods to making theatrical spectacle, together with digital truth and robotic functionality paintings, telematic performances within which distant destinations are associated in genuine time, Webcams, and on-line drama groups, and considers the "extratemporal" phantasm created by means of a few technological theater works. eventually, he defines different types of interactivity, from navigational to participatory and collaborative. Dixon demanding situations dominant theoretical techniques to electronic functionality -- together with what he calls postmodernism's denial of the hot -- and provides a sequence of boldly unique arguments of their place.

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Milton Cohen’s house Theatre, at the side of the as soon as team was once validated in 1958, and constructed a neo-Bauhaus environmental area the place rotating mirrors and prisms solid a number of projections onto triangular monitors and a ceiling dome above spectators who sat or lay down on cushions. comparable areas will be built later within the early Nineteen Seventies, comparable to Alan Finneran’s tricky Theater computer, which used kinetic sculptures and rotating film and slide projection displays. forty nine movie and slides have been projected round the partitions and ceilings in a number of the first “Happenings” through the Fifties, together with Allan Kaprow’s ground-breaking 18 Happenings in 6 components (1959), and the seminal, untitled 1952 Black Mountain university functionality by way of artists together with John Cage, Robert Rauschenberg, and Merce Cunningham. Rauschenberg “flashed ‘abstract’ slides (created by way of colored gelatine sandwiched among the glass), and film clips projected onto the ceiling confirmed first the college prepare dinner, after which, because it steadily moved from the ceiling down the wall, the environment solar. ”50 Rauschenberg’s later artwork gallery piece, Broadcast (1959) introduced jointly a portray and 3 radios, which the viewer might retune to create varied auditory results, in what Hans-Peter Schwarz considers “possibly the first direct predecessor to interactive media paintings. ”51 In 1958, the German Fluxus artist Wolf Vostell positioned an association of tv units within the window of a Parisian division shop for television De-coll/ages (1958). partially a statement at the intrusion of tv media into lifestyle, the screens performed hugely distorted photographs and set the scene for the explosion in video artwork experimentation that used to be to come back within the Sixties. fifty two Its aesthetic will be constructed by way of Nam June Paik into breathtaking, enormous sculptural works utilizing hundreds of thousands of television units enjoying taken care of chanced on photos and abstracted colour images—“TV has attacked us all of our lifestyles” stated Paik, “now we’re hitting again! ”53 different artists could move directly to emulate Vostell’s wakeful and specific conceptual goal to stick to the lead of the futurists and surrealists to try to revolutionize lifestyles itself through infusing paintings into lifestyle, and to create new, mediatized sorts of the Gesamtkunstwerk: Marcel Duchamp has declared readymade gadgets as paintings, and the Futurists declared noises as artwork— it's a tremendous attribute of my efforts and people of my colleagues to claim as artwork the full occasion, comprising noise/ item/ colour/ & psychology—a merging of components, in order that lifestyles (man) should be artwork. fifty four Multimedia Theater, 1911–1959 eighty five 5 functionality and know-how due to the fact that 1960 paintings is produced by means of a succession of people expressing themselves; it's not a query of development. —marcel duchamp1 Duchamp used to be in blunders; not anything comes of not anything within the background of paintings. —brian sewell2 The Nineteen Sixties: a brand new Poetics of Media functionality Like political and social historical past, the background of functionality has concerned slow and incremental evolutions punctuated by means of excessive sessions of extra unexpected or progressive switch.

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