Maria Chatzichristodoulou

Cyber­for­mance? Dig­i­tal or Net­worked Per­for­mance? Cyberthe­aters? Or Vir­tual The­atres? … or all of the above?

Abstract: Steve Dixon, in the pref­ace to his book Dig­i­tal Per­for­mance (2007), acknowl­edges the prob­lem­atic nature of the term, which is due to the wide-ranging appli­ca­tions of both its ele­ments: ‘dig­i­tal’ and ‘per­for­mance’. Accord­ing to Dixon, ‘“Dig­i­tal” has become a loose and generic term (…) and the term “per­for­mance” has acquired wide-ranging appli­ca­tions and dif­fer­ent nuances (…)’ (p. x). Though the terms remain con­tested, there is no doubt that the last two decades have wit­nessed a pro­lif­er­a­tion of per­for­mance prac­tices that unfold not in phys­i­cal or prox­i­mal envi­ron­ments but online, in purpose-built plat­forms or appro­pri­ated vir­tual envi­ron­ments and worlds. This paper will offer a con­densed art his­tor­i­cal overview of the newly emer­gent genre of dig­i­tal per­for­mance (or what­ever else you want to call it), focus­ing in par­tic­u­lar on per­for­mance prac­tices that develop exclu­sively (or pri­mar­ily) online.

Bio: Maria Chatzichristodoulou [aka Maria X] is a cul­tural prac­ti­tioner (cura­tor, per­former, pro­ducer, writer), Direc­tor of Post­grad­u­ate Stud­ies and Lec­turer in The­atre and Per­for­mance at the School of Arts and New Media, Uni­ver­sity of Hull, and holds a PhD in Art and Com­pu­ta­tional Tech­nolo­gies from Gold­smiths Uni­ver­sity of Lon­don. She is co-editor of the vol­ume Inter­faces of Per­for­mance (Ash­gate, 2009) and the forth­com­ing vol­ume Inti­macy Across Vis­ceral and Dig­i­tal Per­for­mance (Pal­grave MacMil­lan), which fol­lows the Inti­macy fes­ti­val and sym­po­sium that Maria ini­ti­ated and co-directed in Lon­don (2007). She also co-editor of the forth­com­ing vol­ume From Black Box to Sec­ond Life: The­atre and Per­for­mance in Vir­tual Worlds, which fol­lows a day of round table dis­cus­sions Maria ini­ti­ated at the Uni­ver­sity of Hull (Scar­bor­ough, 2011).