[-empyre-] cultural, organizational and technological performance

In Jon McKenzie?s book Perform or Else he presents a case study approach demonstrating the current cultural use and understanding of ?performance?.  He cites the parallel developments emergent from the 50?s and 60?s of Marcuse?s claim that
post-industrial societies are ruled by the ?performance principle? (oppressive / repressive sublimation, or conformance to social acceptance), concurrent with the rise of both a theatrical concept of performance from ritual and social interaction
and the development in art that would become performance art. 

Specifically, he looks at three facets of performance: the efficacy of ?cultural performance? as in the performance of dancers, singers, musicians and actors in the traditional performing arts and experimental art; the efficiency of ?organizational
performance? such as workplace productivity of companies, business management, economic power; and the effectiveness of ?technological performance? such as the technological functionality of objects or systems.

While seemingly disparate, and certainly broad, expanding performance to be inclusive of these cultural uses enables us to understand as ?performance? buildings made of fog and tables that follow you, tools that are sociable and engage you to become
performative through their use and, the more familiar notion of performance, interactions by artists with technology in an event presented to others who observe.  

But unlike Schwitters? imagined Merz conception, the blog is chronicling _current practice_ which, like the openness of its premise (any live event that is network enabled), means that there is a really broad range of realized work. From lo-fi to
DIY art to academic and commercial institutionally funded research to commercial tools and experiences. And an equally broad range of practitioners from artists and performers, of course, to engineers, computer scientists, social scientists,
humanities researchers, architects, and undoubtedly others.

One aspect of the blog as a database of works is to note patterns of practice as a means to understand the expanding definition of performance. The breadth of this scope points out that both definitions of terms (performance, liveness, embodiment,
presence, agency, etc.) as well as a typology are needed.  We began with the categories Telematic, Locative, Wearable, and Environments. Perhaps the multivalent concept of performance as cultural, organizational and technological can inform a
typology of current networked practice. 

michelle riel, mfa
asst. prof. new media & dept. chair
teledramatic arts & technology, bldg. 27
california state university monterey bay
100 campus center
seaside, ca 93955, usa
v: 831.582.4665

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