[ISEA2011] Paper: Paula Roush & Maria Lusitano – A field of interconnected realities: cyber drawing and mash-up electronic goodness


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. Video: field-mashup-drawing  Video: a field (of interconnected realities)

  • Paula Roush is an artist-ed­u­ca­tor-re­searcher. She is the founder of msdm, a plat­form for mo­bile strate­gies of dis­play & me­di­a­tion, en­com­pass­ing on­line tech­nolo­gies and site-spe­cific ap­proaches to par­tic­i­pa­tory art. She is a lec­turer at the Lon­don South Bank Uni­ver­sity and Uni­ver­sity of West­min­ster, UK, where she leads courses on artists works with archives, pub­li­ca­tions and the area of  dig­i­tal per­for­mance. Her work has been shown in­ter­na­tion­ally, in­clud­ing: Play Gallery, Spar­wasser and Kun­straum Bethanien/ Berlin; GAK: Gesellschaft fur Ak­tuelle Kunst/ Bre­men; Bauhaus Foun­da­tion/ Dessau; Cen­tro Cul­tural de Es­pana/ Mon­te­v­ideo; Museu da Cidade, Cen­tro de Arte Mod­erna Jose Az­eredo Perdi­gao/ Lis­bon; W139/ Am­s­ter­dam; Iniva, Cole­man Pro­ject Space, 198 gallery, Cu­bitt Gallery, Space, Elas­tic Res­i­dence and South Lon­don Gallery/ Lon­don; Gal­le­ria Nazionale Veletrzni Palac/ Prague; Over­gaden Gallery/ Copen­hagen; Liv­ing Art Mu­seum/ Reyk­javik. She also co-cu­rated Local Worlds: Spaces, Vis­i­bil­i­ties and Tran­scul­tural Flows, Cen­tro Cul­tural de Lagos, Wel­come Good­bye Adeus Obri­gada: Jour­neys, Dis­lo­ca­tions and Imag­i­nary Na­tions, Blue Ele­phant The­atre, Lon­don, Post­script: Por­tuguese Live Art in the Age of Scripted Re­al­ity, Space, Lon­don and Out­sourc­ing: Cre­ative Col­li­sion Be­tween Artist and Cu­ra­tor, inIVA, Lon­don. msdm.org.uk
  • Maria Lusi­tano is an artist from Por­tu­gal. In 2009 she com­pleted her  MA in Fine Art  at the Malmö Art Acad­emy in Swe­den and is cur­rently doing  a PhD at the Uni­ver­sity of West­min­ster UK.  She par­tic­i­pated and ex­hib­ited in var­i­ous events such as Man­i­festa 5,  Photo Es­pana 6 Madrid,  Lund­sKon­stHall, Swe­den, Mod­erna Museet in Stock­holm, 29th Bi­en­nial of Sao Paulo and  Joshibi Uni­ver­sity Mu­seum,Tokyo. In par­al­lel to their in­di­vid­ual prac­tice, Paula Roush and Maria Lusi­tano have col­lab­o­rated as We­b­cam op­er­a­tors, a col­lec­tive as­sem­bled in 2009 to re­search net­worked per­for­ma­tiv­ity. They have  worked within videostream­ing plat­forms, Sec­ond Life and we­b­cam com­mu­ni­ties, pro­duc­ing on­line-of­fline ac­tions. The out­come of this process have been var­i­ous per­for­mances and per­for­ma­tive lec­tures, in­stal­la­tions and short films, pre­sented at AGM09: under con­trol and Ra­di­a­tor Fes­ti­val (Derby), Zavod P.A.R.A.S.I.T.E./ Gallery P74 (Ljubl­jana), Liv­ing Room10 (Auck­land), Chan­nel TV at the Kun­stverein Har­burger Bahn­hof/ (Ham­burg) and  Sput-e-nick Space (Porto).   marialusitano.org/maria_lusitano/homepage.html