This work went from an investigation of performance documentation toward the literal existence of performance without a shared space. In this process I had a realization that documentation and performing via a digital platform were not very far apart, and that my own biases were limiting my experience of documentation videos. Due to gathering restrictions because of COVID-19, this work was pushed to investigate how to hold presence where it doesn't usually exist. Each individual that sees here, then & now, will experience a truth subjective to their personal biographies. The work is inextricably linked to social distancing, documentation, performance, presence and agency.
A Digital Performance
If coming together in a shared space is not a viable option for a performance, can the usual forms of documentation through video, photos, written material, and a live stream, come together to express a version of the performance?
What better space than the digital to develop and present a new performance work that is happening both in real time and displays a choreographed schemata of events. This is an event where a live stream performance is in relationship to the documentation of its creation.
I have been attracted to the ways in which the digital and virtual worlds easily translate to systems of choreography of the body. Codes. Codifications. This translation from the physical to the mechanical (and vice versa) is exciting. I understand that one cannot replace the other but like William Forsythe’s odes to choreographic objects the the physical and the mechanical are sympatico. They each need their respective codes to function, which offer guidance in the exchange with an audience, making them able to be enjoyed by multiple people...
Performing the digital.
The digital performing.
here, then & now invites you to navigate a space between the digital representations of movement and performance, the mechanical and the physical. In this context, you join me as a mover on the webpage; and as a mover you join me as a performer.
This work navigates documentation, experience and exchange into a new choreographed digital event that draws on the enhancement maps included in the scores section. In this scenario, technology is a proper tool that asks audience members to observe their experience as both an instigator of their own experience and experiencer of the performative event. Choices by the audience can be made as to where they want focus their attention. In a digital performance, can audiences be afforded the sensorial independent point of view available in traditional live performance?
Remnants of a performative event barely exist after the performance is over. Performance as a work in and of itself is straddled by the making and documentation; existing in the fleeting moment of action. These actions are the work- always in movement between what was and what could be. I am presenting a moving body via video and live-stream where viewers will be left to invest there attention on versions of the work that are pre-recorded and a live stream performance.
The live stream performance works in tandem with video, enhancement maps, and movement phrases allowing audiences agency over the way the performance plays out.
The Role of Documentation
Through this work I am emphasizing the sensory experience usually absent in documentation. We, those of us making art to be shared and participated in through a sensory presence of space and time, rarely manage to capture the sensory experience of the audience. I believe an updated version of documentation has to be considered that includes or acknowledges each viewer’s subjectivity. Though I know the impossibility of recording/documenting the various experiences of people who watch a performance, the truest form of documentation will have an element of the audience's experience captured with it.
There is a lot of autonomy for viewers present within a performance. Sure, there are codes around social conduct. But for the most part, performances have a self-directed point-of-view for each individual in attendance. Can documentation capture that element?
For me, as an initiator and performer, I want to anticipate potential experiences and also acknowledge that a viewer's experience is dependent on their own imagination. This is what I call Dualistic Performing. There is an inherent vacillation of identity in here, then & now. I am asking everyone who experiences this work to assess the individualism of their experience. You will always experience the work in a relative state of isolation (your own interpretation or memory) despite my attempt to share. I am also coming to terms with my own polarity of approach: a need for sharing with you, and the complete opposite in which I realize that no matter what I do, you will always be the sole experiencer of any performance I make.
In here, then and now I am attempting to make a work that exists in multiple places at once; it is both memory and live; it is both pre-recorded and currently happening, it is both a shared and individual experience. In between the making and documentation exists the fleeting work itself, dependent on its audience and their respective, subjective experience. It is then in this place of in-between that this digital performance exists.