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NEW-MEDIA-CURATING  March 2014

NEW-MEDIA-CURATING March 2014

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Subject:

Re: Can non-human entities perform?

From:

Kate Sicchio <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Kate Sicchio <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 20 Mar 2014 00:05:42 +0000

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Hi Johannes and all

I think these are interesting questions around digital labor in relation to my work. I have made a series of dance scores that fall under the 'hacking choreography' project and they explore digital labor in different ways. I have one score called 'Execute' which was originally a solo and last weekend was performed by the dance improv group Quick Shifts in Leicester UK. Executes starts with me reading movement instructions into a microphone, followed by the word execute. However, the score for the dancers is not the instructions I am reading. The score for the dancer is to actually slowly subvert the instructions until they are not performing the 'code' at all. In the Sunday performance one dancer even threatened to take the mic from me and create her own instructions. She was the best choreographic hacker I have performed with to date. I also think this score links to the idea of the broader ecology mentioned before and Johannes's comment that code performance is an effect and not a cause.

As for the audience, I have found their reactions very positive. Most find it humorous (I also think it's funny). The performance I linked to had some syntax errors in my code. This was the most talked about aspect of the performance. Some people loved the error. Most thought it was intentional (it was not). And two members of the audience specifically told me that the typo was horrific because a computer would never follow a command that was misspelled...

I also really like the idea of a syntax error in movement.

Best
Kate

On 19 Mar 2014, at 22:33, Johannes Birringer wrote:

> dear all
> 
> just went back to the first week and thought about (as Andread suggests below)
> text that is "made to perform" . Code?  
> 
> Then watched Kate Sicchio's video (of her "hacking choreography') and wondered whether others watched it
> and what you thought, and how we understand thart kind of text/writing as code (instructions for movement)
> and whether you see a relation between code (performed obviously as if in live coding) by Kate and what the 
> two dancers do/act out/mimic?
> 
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hoV01_P6PGw
> [
> (Paul Catense then replied he liked this a lot, and mentioned Melissa & Koosil-ja's techniques (what they call "Live Processing"?)[http://vimeo.com/27929250]
> 
> 
> [Andreas Broeckmann schreibt]
>> I find treating artworks as quasi-subjects is a mystification (they
>> are a medium of communication, not an expressive subject), but it's a
>> very tempting one.
> i share your opinion about mystification, and was more interested in the
> technical question whether images can be made to "perform" (as in
> process) in the same way that text is made to perform (as software
> code). i understand that the way in which computers process information,
> they are dependent on this information coming in as strings of binary
> code, right? ......
>> .
> 
> words made flesh?  quailty of movement?  How different is Kate's "choreographic" work from Yoko Ono's Cut Piece mentioned earlier (by Rachel Beth)?
> what is syntax error in movement and could we say that? and what would be syntax errors in social code?
> 
> Alex suggested that "No wonder then that live coders rarely look present at all in the
> performances they give...."
> 
> 
> I wondered, then, whether the conversation of a few days ago (on audience of/for code or audience for (art)performance or artwork)
> can be reflected back on the earlier, stimulating proposal by Tom Schofield on March 8:
> 
>> 
> Picking up on Stephanie’s point below about digital labour makes me think about code performativity from the other end. In Stephanie’s examples, people are effectively performing for code. This strikes me as being the theatrical sense of performativity - trying to fit their bodies into performances that can be algorithmically recognised - one thinks of the calibration pose in early generation kinect stuff as an example.
> Conversely, from the Austin/Searle -> Judith Butler , Karen Barad, Nigel Thrift etymology of the term I think there are still a bunch of related facets also to do with labour but in a less direct and more distributed way. Code performs only as part of a broader ecology of systems. It needs infrastructure to do so in terms of processing power, memory, electricity but also in a broader (or maybe vaguer) sense, it needs a milieu. Code performance is an effect not a cause.......In this sense to talk about the performativity of code is really to talk about the way that it does or doesn’t take fit into a broader ecology. There’s no performativity without embeddedness in context.>
> 
> This I find a very important point, and the theory-inflected use of "performativity" of code probably misleads or obscures any political discussion. I'd be interested in asking Kate how her audiences read/receive the dance they see? And if "performance" does not  imply that one addresses the (however heightened or reduced) physical, and situational and social form of these works, then how are these (human) bodies made to fit the digital labor, how do audiences understand or want such 'hacking'?
> 
> 
> regards
> Johannes Birringer
> dap lab

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