In July 2004, Jo-Anne Green and Helen Thorington of Turbulence.org, and Michelle Riel, Assistant Professor of New Media at California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB), originated the Networked_Performance blog. It was their intent to chronicle current network-enabled practice, to obtain a wide-range of perspectives on issues and to uncover commonalities in the work.
What the blog revealed at that time was an explosion of creative experimental pursuits made possible by the migration of computation out of the desktop PC and into the physical world and by the continuing advances in internet technologies, wireless telecommunications, sensor technologies and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). In these explorations artists utilized pervasive, ubiquitous computing technologies that are inexpensive, readily available, and most importantly, mobile and wirelessly networked. The blog further revealed that these technologies were being utilized by a growing generation of programming capable artists and artistically minded engineers and computer scientists.
Newer technologies have gained prominence – particularly social networking platforms that have made possible an enthusiastic return to the net, where users from all disciplines and fields of endeavor began to control the media they produce and consume. Further, virtual worlds, most notably Second Life, have seen an increase in creative practice as artists explore the technologies and social ramifications of synthetic, multiuser environments.
As smart phones (such as iPhone and Android) are becoming more affordable, we are seeing more 3-D, mobile, location-specific, public interventions via Augmented Reality platforms such as Layar, as well as an increase in interactive downloadable ‘apps’.
These changes are documented in Networked_Performance’s blog entries.
Guest Bloggers include Régine Debatty, Michelle Kasprzak, Luís Silva, and Nathaniel Stern.
“A few month ago, I discovered networked_performance, a blog about locative media, augmented reality, distributed performance, environmental theatre, pervasive play, immersive gaming, telepresence, etc. Add the word “chocolate” to the list and you’ll have a good view of everything I like.
Jo-Anne Green invited me to be guest blogger till Christmas. It’s a fantastic opportunity for me because it means that I’ll be able to write about projects and artists I don’t have the time or space to talk about here. It’s also a challenge since the last guest blogger was an artist I admire, Michelle Kasprzak.” — Régine Debatty, Guest blogging on “Networked_performance” (December 13, 2004)
Towards a Definition of Networked Performance
Since the latter part of the twentieth century, and especially in new media artistic practice, we have witnessed a shift from the representational idiom — where art is viewed mainly as a means to represent the world — to the performative idiom — where the practice of art is considered an active negotiation with the world it seeks to address.*
Networked Performance is real-time, embodied practice within digital environments and networks; it is, embodied transmission.
Performance involves the moment of action, its continuity, inherent temporality and relationship to the present.**
From Perform Space:
Performance is generally defined as an enactment or occurrence over time which is experienced and measured against some standard [system / pattern] and according to specific criteria [presentation / framing] .
Performance Art was initially proclaimed as its own medium in the 1960s and 1970s. Generally it is used to specify art works conceived and enacted by an artist using his or her own body, but is also used to describe works involving the participation of the viewer.
Performative refers to the operative and systematical aspect of something as an occurrence: something is not performative in itself, but rather becomes performative by being enacted and experienced within a specified framework. For example, in language, performative utterances are speech acts which complete the action they proclaim, as in “I promise to be there,” or “I now pronounce you husband and wife.” The action is fulfilled through being said and experienced by particular persons in a particular social context. Thereby, to speak of a performative artistic work means to claim that the process of being realized and experienced make something art, rather than, e.g., its object qualities.
Performativity refers to the necessary performative aspect of a condition, an event or object. For example, the performativity of gender means that gender is not given, but rather results through acts based on cultural norms of femininity and masculinity. Broadly considered, the performativity of art refers to the way art is created and maintained as a special field through acts based on cultural norms. For example, since Modernism a common notion is that art be new, as in the avant-garde which disrupted previous cultural practices and beliefs about art.
*Pickering (1995) advocated a shift from the representational idiom — where science is viewed mainly as a means to represent the world—to the performative idiom — where the practice of science is considered an active negotiation with the world it seeks to address. Quoted in “Datascape: A Synthesis of Digital and Embodied Worlds” by Eric Kubisch
**Unstable Events: Performative Science, Materiality and Machinic Practices by Christopher L. Salter.