How Theatre came to the Internet

The German theatre website is hosting an online series called “Performing Internet or How Theatre came to the Internet”. The series includes online presentations and discussions as well as video documentation of early works, and all of this is documented on the Nachtkritik website.

First up in the series was of course the seminal work of Sherrie Rabinowitz and Kit Galloway from the 1980s. In a talk titled “Sputnik-Moments of Teleimmersive Cyberarts“, Kit Galloway gives a comprehensive overview of their work including “Hole in Space” (pictured below), the Electronic Café and other projects.

The second event featured Juli Burk’s ATHEMOO – originally created as a way for those who could not physically attend the ATHE (Association of Theater in Higher Education) conference to be included, and they quickly discovered that the text-only MOO was also an ideal space for online theatre. Documentation of the event, “The Word as Body + Stage Or How Synchronous Chat Became Theatre“, includes recordings of the original ATHEMOO performances as well as a link to LinguaMOO where you can explore the MOO environment.

Hole In Space

Political Cyberformance: The Etheatre Project

A new book by Christina Papagiannouli, 9781137577030.inddPolitical Cyberformance: The Etheatre Project, examines the use of internet platforms as theatrical, rehearsal and performance spaces and explores the interactive and political potentials of online theatre, questioning the boundaries of these in-between spaces and the spatial experiences they engender. It is published by Palgrave McMillian and can be ordered here.

Christina was one of the organisers of the CyPosium in 2012, and with her Etheatre project has been involved in UpStage for many years. She and her collaborators presented cyberformances at the 11:11:11 and 121212 festivals, and at the UpStage 10th Birthday in 2014. She has participated in We have a situation! and Water-wheel Tap, and is currently part of the team developing a funding proposal for the next-generation cyberformance platform.

Launch of “CyPosium – the book”

launch_11CyPosium – the book was launched on 12 December with an event in Munich and online. Book contributors and organisers of the CyPosium read excerpts from their various locations around the world. A recording of the performance is below, and you can read the text here.

The event took place at 20:00 CET, online and at PLATFORM, Munich, following a guided tour by Gretta Louw of the exhibition Net Work. It was also part of the programme of Artes Virtuais Interactivas Participativas 2º, in Lisbon, Portugal.

The readers are: Alberto Vazquez (Argentina), Annie Abrahams (France), Christina Papagiannouli (UK), Clara Gomes (Portugal), Helen Varley Jamieson (Germany), James Cunningham (Australia), Liz Bryce (Aotearoa New Zealand), Miljana Perić (Serbia), Nathalie Fougeras (Sweden) and Vicki Smith (Aotearoa New Zealand).

CyPosium – The Book!

Published by Link Editions and La Panacée, CyPosium – the book is a collection of material from the CyPosium. Presentations, chat and discussion excerpts, illustrations and more, contributed by international artists and CyPosium participants.

The book is available as a free pdf or full colour hard copy.

View a recording of the launch cyberformance, and the Transmediale performance here.

Contributors: Activelayers (UK, Australia, New Zealand), Adriene Jenik (USA), Alan Sondheim (USA), Alberto Vazquez (Argentina), Annie Abrahams (Netherlands/France), Aureia Harvey and Michaël Samyn (Belgium), Clara Gomes (Portugal), Helen Varley Jamieson (NZ/Germany), Joseph DeLappe (USA), Maria
Chatzichristodoulou (Greece/UK), Maja Delak and Luka Prinčič (Slovenia), Miljana Perić (Serbia), Rob Myers (UK/Canada), Roger Mills (Australia), Ruth Catlow (UK) and Stephen A. Schrum (USA). CyPosium ­- The Book is edited by Annie Abrahams and Helen Varley Jamieson.

Book description

The CyPosium (2012) was a unique online symposium about cyberformance ­ the innovative practice of live, online performance connecting remote artists and audiences via the internet. Artists have experimented in this field for as long as they have had access to the internet, and the CyPosium sought to remember some
of this ephemeral and pioneering work. CyPosium ­ The Book continues and expands on this discussion.

Beginning on Friday 12 October 2012 at 16:00 CET, the CyPosium unfolded over the following 12 hours, involving about 100 digital artists, researchers and interested people around the world. Everything took place in real time using online performance interfaces where the audience engaged via a text chat to discuss and question.

Artists’ presentations recalled the history of the emerging practice of cyberformance, from the mid­1990s to current ongoing work, and digital performance scholar Maria Chatzichristodoulou provided a contextualising introduction. The presenters, organisers and audience were located in more than 20 countries around the world.

Drawing by Ruth Catlow

Drawing of Alan Sondheim’s presentation at the CyPosium, by Ruth Catlow

CyPosium ­ The Book brings together selected documentation from the CyPosium (presentation texts and excerpts from the chats) along with invited articles that respond to the event, expanded presentation texts, edited email conversations, creative chat excerpt essays and illustrations. The resulting volume complements and enhances the actual CyPosium documentation available on the web site and opens the conversation up to a wider audience. We envisage the book being available as both harcopy and e­book.

CyPosium ­ The Book will be of interest to practitioners, students and researchers of digital and online arts. While its focus is live performance (specifically  cyberformance), the contributors hail from a wide range of practice both online and offline, and their writing illustrates the hybridity of contemporary arts involving
digital technologies. Music, dance, poetry, sound art and the visual arts feature, as well as entertainment/social practices such as computer games, virtual worlds and online dating. Also present are common themes that emerged during the CyPosium: the changing role of the audience; intimacy in the online environment; and mortality. This breadth of form and content reflects the ever­increasing ubiquity of the internet and digital technologies in our daily lives as well as our arts practices.

As many of the contributors are academics and scholars as well as artists, this book will be a valuable addition to courses in digital arts, contemporary performance and media studies. Thorough footnotes provide substantiating references and links to further information in specific areas. The variety and readability of the articles ensures it will also appeal to practitioners of cyberformance and related artforms as well as to anyone with an interest in innovative uses of the internet and the impact of digital technologies on society.

The unique voices of individual artists are clearly heard as they discuss their practice, trace their journeys, and respond to the questions and comments of the audience.
As well as any normal marketing of the book, the contributors and CyPosium organising team will promote the book through their own networks, online communities, and in their own geographical areas; we are well­connected online people who are highly familiar with email, social media and other online tools.

Live Cyberformance Manifesto Rewriting

A live collaborative rewriting of the Cyberformance Manifesto took place on 26 March 2013, inspired by the CyPosium.

The Cyberformance Manifesto was first written by Helen Varley Jamieson in 2008 as a chapter in her Master’s thesis, and intended to be a living document that would evolve as the artform of cyberformance evolved. A live collaborative online rewriting event is completely appropriate for this.

See the results of the rewriting here:

This is of course a work in progress!

Cyberformance Manifesto Rewriting

an online symposium on cyberformance

Since the early 1990s, there has been a growing body of live performance that is situated online. These events differ enormously in form and content, are described with multiple terms (such as cyberformance, remote performance, internet theatre, screen stage, computer-mediated performance), are staged in a variety of online environments (such as text-based and graphical chat rooms, sound broadcast, real time choreography for screen, virtual worlds, games and purpose-built or existing platforms as for instance facebook) and engage diverse audiences. The net, however, is forgetful: it loses the memory of those events, and of the people who lived them, of the environments and communities who hosted them.

On 12 October 2012, a cyberformance symposium was hosted by UpStage, the Waterwheel Tap and independent cyberformers, where cyberformers will discuss their online performances with other artists, researchers and interested participants. Questions we would like to tackle in CyPosium include: What different kind of events happened? What did they make possible? What was special about the event? Why were things done in a certain way and what were the results?

We invited proposals for presentations about past online performances (click here to see the call) and received a very good response, from which we have selected 9 presentations and an introduction. We will announce the schedule in early September and hope that you will join us online for what promises to be a day of diverse presentations and lively discussions.CyPosium