[ISEA2011] Panel: Mar­garida Car­valho – Masks, Mem­branes, Pas­sages: Notes on par­tic­i­pa­tion and net­worked per­for­mance

Panel Statement

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!]