Panel: Intimate TV: Webcamming & Social Life-logging In the Surveillant-Sousveillant Space
In 1972, Robert Whitman, one of the founders of the famous collective of artists and engineers Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.) in the sixties, conceived the performance News that was broadcast live on WBAI New York radio and can be considered as a forerunner of today’s participatory culture and digital media, more specifically of contemporary artistic experimentation in the field of networked performance. In News the participants, who were spread across various locations in the city, telephoned to the radio station and described what they were seeing. A network of voices was then woven, a city sound map that juxtaposed prosaic reports and testimonies of everyday life marked by subjectivity and poetic description. News laid the foundation for a subsequent series of performances, including works such as 21st Century Happening and Local Report, in which the basic structure is similar: thirty people at different locations of a city, who call (with five-minute intervals between each call) and describe what they see at that moment. The calls are broadcast live through the intervention of Robert Whitman who ends the call when the participant creates a coherent image. Whitman’s performances News, 21st Century Happening and Local Report are based on technological networks and also work the network from a conceptual and expressive point of view as far as they create an assemblage of audio and visual fragments, and because they invoke the rhizomatic, diffuse and affective experience of our memory. In this sense they are exemplary works to introduce the theme of participation and “live” combination in the networked performance with the particularity of also giving us a historical perspective on our subject of study. In 2004, Jo-Anne Green, Michelle Riel and Helen Thorington (editors and curators of the Turbulence.org project) defined the scope of networked performance as being any live event based on a network, particularly digital networks. Nowadays, the ubiquity, mobility and convergence of digital media enhances the intensification of the experience of telepresence that is entwined in the distributed nature of networked performance. This paper intends to contribute to a critical reflection on experimenting with audience participation in artistic practices of networked performance.
- Margarida Carvalho holds a BA and a MA in Communication Sciences by the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities of the New University of Lisbon (FCSH/UNL), Portugal. She has been a faculty member at the School of Communication and Media Studies (Lisbon Polytechnic Institute) since 1998 where she currently lectures the courses of “Art and Communication” and “Semiology”. Margarida is now working on her doctoral thesis on the subject of participation in digital arts at the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities of the New University of Lisbon. From September 2009 onwards she was awarded a PhD scholarship under the program to support advanced training for higher education polytechnic teachers (PROTEC). In the academic year 2008-2009, she received a doctoral scholarship from the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia as part of the UT Austin | Portugal program. Her main areas of research are new media art, participatory media and digital culture. Her book Híbridos Tecnológicos was published by Nova Vega editors in 2007. The collaboration in the research project Trends on Portuguese Networks Culture resulted in the writing of the chapters “Hibridação” and “Práticas de net.art em Portugal” of the book As Artes Tecnológicas e a Rede Internet em Portugal (Lisboa, Nova Vega, 2009). From 2001 to 2004 Margarida joined the editorial team of the online quarterly journal Interact – Revista de Arte, Cultura e Tecnologias, issued by Centro de Estudos de Comunicação e Linguagens of the FCSH/UNL. Margarida has published several papers including: 2010 (forthcoming) “Weaving Encounters: Towards an Art of Participation”, paper presented at the international conference Unneeded Conversations: Practice and Theory of Art, Porto, Faculdade de Belas Artes of Universidade do Porto. 2009 “Affective Territories”, In INFLeXions, volume 3. [Online]. Available at: senselab.ca/inflexions/volume_3/node_i3/Affective_Territories.html. 2008 “Mapas Imaginários”, In Virose, secção b#21, Outubro. [Online]. Available at virose.pt/vector/b_21/carvalho.html
Full text (PDF) p. 377-382 [Different title!]