Re: [-empyre-] cultural, organizational and technological performance

I'm going to try to jump back in to this (I'm moving between continents in a few days so I haven't been able to participate as much as I would have liked). To tell the truth, I never really saw the computer as the performer in Autodrawn. It may sound far-fetched, but I saw the drivers of the cars as the performers. They are what affects the image, not the computer (along with a few other factors like daylight, camera positions and their functionality). Eventually, the drawings being generated become predictable and it's relatively easy to see by the way cars are drawn that the computer shows total disregard for the subject matter (which in itself tends to produce rather interesting effects). The thing that I really think matters with work like this, in regards to "performance" is the live factor and the only factor involved that is really, conciously thinking about this work in terms of "art" is the viewer. The program can't be conciously trying to make art, the drivers have no idea that they're involved in a work of art and so on. I see it as a way of automating experimentation. I could spend years trying out various different scenes for drawing traffic on a freeway, or I can automate the process of trying "them all". Of course, it's going to take forever, but my server's not in any hurry :-) For instance, Autodrawn has already shown me a way of sketching freeway traffic that I probably wouldn't have thought of; as a big sign that says, "This camera is temporarily offline."

best r.

Michelle Riel wrote:
To clarify, I don't necessarily see them as new or additional categories, but to be mindful that we already have an understanding of performance as operating in these ways - culturally, organizationally, and technologically. For example, to think
of technological performance can be to rate an object's utility by some criteria. When I say "How is my computer performing? It seems a little sluggish, I may have too many images open and the vram is maxed out." We understand this to mean that I
am discussing the utilitarian aspect of the computer's functionality. When I say the "freeway performs" in Pall Thayer's Autodrawn work in which he has created a software framework through which to capture the random activities of cars passing along
the freeway and conceptualizes it in relation to the artists sketch exercise, I am attributing criteria of performance to an object, technology, or system. I transfer affect to an object; I see the computationally embedded and technologized world in
which I live as alive, able to engage and enact. The "what" of the engagement / enactment is that tenuous realm that we are currently pondering: performance without a body, responsiveness, or performance, of once inanimate objects that now sense
and communicate.

Since we may not usually consider performance beyond the cultural referent, my intention was to propose thinking more expansively about performance as more than a sited event, perhaps a condition or state, since I often also use performance and
performativity interchangeably (which is probably a sloppy practice and I should be more rigorous). As far as examples, this broader perspective of performance is reflected in many of the examples and artists referenced thus far (Pall Thayer as
mentioned, Chris Salter, Diller + Scofidio, Teran and Mann, Usman Haque) in which objects, environments, and systems perform.

Michelle -

soft_skinned_space <> writes:

Michelle R. --

"Perhaps the multivalent concept of performance as cultural, organizational
and technological can inform a typology of current networked practice."

Can you give us an idea of what this means? A new way of categorizing types of networked practice... what would you put in each of the above categories? And wouldn't one spend hours arguing what work belongs where?

-- Helen

on 7/14/05 6:28 PM, Michelle Riel at wrote:

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

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.

empyre forum

-- _______________________________ Pall Thayer artist/teacher


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