[ISEA2011] Paper: Ana M. Carvalho – The ephemeral in AV realtime practices: an analysis into the possibilities for its documentation


The performative moment is a unique narrative, defined as a gathering of multiple elements of varied origins, a point in time, which is no longer past, neither is future yet, which stands between biography and fiction and is mediated by current technological means. We define our subject of study within the collective practices with emphasis on process and consisting of two basic components: audio and video. From this (still loose definition) the text will attempt an approach to the performative moment taking the reader through the work of several thinkers to whom the world is a permanent mutating process. We will look at AV performance as a construction of relationships rather than hierarchies, with emphasis put in the process of becoming rather than in a stagnated state. Following considerations from theoretical analysis, the subject of documentation will come to the surface. The text aims at presenting some considerations and many questions towards the possibilities for documentation of the AV project from the point of view of the construction of memory.

This point where we stand is a location of questioning.

Defined by its uniqueness, the moment is an artistic, collective, momentary manifestation that documentation should not replace. What is, in this context, the document? Which criteria should describe this documentation?

We put forward the possibility that audio and visual data are source material only capable of constituting meaning through the momentary construction of narrative. The bridge between moment and construction of memory is documentation.

The text will examine two documents of AV performance projects: the DVD by Granular Synthesis and a book by Aether9, to analysis into the possibilities for documenting both creative process and performative moment.

Documents constitute ways to extend our thoughts (individually and collectively) in the attempt to expand memory in time. Parallel to the institutionalized frame of the museum, we propose the collective to create its own ways to document activities, using the practice’s tools, technologies and knowledge, in order to leave traces that will allow future memory construction and its study.

  • Ana M. Carvalho is PhD candidate on Communication and Digital Platforms at Faculdade de Letras, Universidade do Porto and teacher at Universidade Fernando Pessoa, both in Portugal. Subjects of study are identity (collective and individual), documentation, narrative and memory within realtime audiovisual performance. As visual artist and performer her work evidences process as art and reflects on fictional biography, social utopias, ways of knowing and women’s achievements. In recent work Ana Carvalho takes metaphors from nature to reflect on inner emotional states.  Texts, audiovisual performances and collaborative blogging describe process and results. Among several collaborative projects she is co-editor of VJ Theory, a project related to philosophy and theory that inform and is informed by realtime audiovisual practices and co-organizer of the abertura events in Lisbon. She has been performing under several personas, experimenting and improvising with technology and objects of the everyday life.

Full text (PDF) p. 372-376