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NEW-MEDIA-CURATING  March 2014

NEW-MEDIA-CURATING March 2014

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Subject:

Re: March Discussion Begins: The Performativity of Code

From:

Kate Sicchio <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Kate Sicchio <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 4 Mar 2014 15:44:57 +0000

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Hi All

During the last couple of years I have been directly exploring the performativity expressed in code within choreographic scores and performances. One of my main projects is Hacking Choreography. At first the idea was to take scores and find ways to subvert them in performance and therefore 'hack' them. I started this with an Alice Knowles scores from the Fluxus Handbook and tried to find other ways to perform this whilst performing it. This soon developed into live coding of dancers. I have created a pseduo-programming language in which movement is defined and put into an order and other changed during the performance. Dancers have to perform the code as it is being written. The performance becomes as much about their cognitive process of interpreting and performing at the same time as it does dancing. Here is a video of a recent performance in London in January: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hoV01_P6PGw

I also have created a collaborative performance with live coder Alex McLean (also a contributor in this discussion) called Sound Choreographer <> Body Code.  We create a feedback loop between our codes through a kinect tracking my dancing and changing Alex's code, and another computer analysing Alex's sound and changing my score as I am dancing. My score becomes so complex during the performance, that I fail at performing it. There is too much code to dance and I have to make decisions about what to do next. Alex also has to deal with not knowing how my movement will change his code and how the code has become a shifting structure.

One of the things that has become important to me within this approach to choreography is that the dancer still makes choices about the code and how to interpret it. The language used becomes extremely important as well and I purposely try to use terms that can be explored through movement and not directly dictate a movement. I think this is where performativity also plays an important role again by the doing (interpreting) and not the saying.

Kate


--
Kate Sicchio
web: www.sicchio.com
twitter: @sicchio


On 4 Mar 2014, at 11:12, Jack Stenner wrote:

> Hello Victoria and list. Thank you for the invitation to participate!
> 
> In response to the question “In what ways is performativity expressed in code?” in relation to my own practice, performativity is embodied in several forms: (1.) Quite literally, in the naming of the classes, functions, and variables. (2.) Modeling of conceptual/social structures of interest directly in code. (3.) As an emergent property in response to the conceptual and technical needs of the artwork.
> 
> If one were to look at the code used to generate applications or services for just about any of my works, one would see variables named “hybrid_subject,” “zombie,” “faciality,” “terrorist,” “absence,” “spectator,” etc. Functions typically describe the actions available for various classes, which in turn are often the “nouns” or general categories of behavior needed to support the larger performativity of the work. By virtue of the works relation to cultural discourse, the code reflects this relationship, as well. 
> 
> In the Murphy’s Well-Being project, beyond the semantic relationships described above, we modeled a conceptual framework directly. Theorist Greg Ulmer’s concept of the “popcycle” as characterized by four institutional discourses: family, entertainment, history and philosophy, were articulated in code using class constructs and a relational database. We wanted to test/exercise the meaning making capability of this way of thinking about social formation. Again, the semantics were consistent with the idea, but here the theorization directed the structure.
> 
> The third way performativity is expressed in code in my work is more nuanced and self-reflective. The code arises from the concept of the work beyond semantic or structural desires. In Open House we were thinking about the popular conception of computing activity as non-physical, and how that has been culturally normalized; the classic virtual/actual divide. We wanted to highlight the fact that “virtual” actions have tangible effects, in this case, as it related to the manipulation of markets responsible for the 2007 U.S. housing collapse. With this in mind, the code begins to reflect the idea in the form of a distributed set of networked applications with real-time stimulus response behaviors. For example, a component of the work was a desktop application where we wanted to question the a-critical mouse click by causing the viewer to press and hold the mouse to navigate. This required re-thinking basic interaction, not because it was something fun to do, but because our hypothesis was that speed combined with a lack of critical reflection was instrumental in the crash. The code and its structure emerge from the critical demands of the work.
> 
> I agree with Curt's point about code/text/language having always been performative. In the case of the Arns article, I would argue that if generative art is an attempt to negate intentionality it is always a failed attempt, and the act is certainly performative. Of course, mode of transmission, the speed with which it is transmitted, the way it's processed into machine language, are all extremely important with regard to how code is performative. The apparatus has sufficiently changed from oral and literate cultures that I think it's important that we look at its operations in the world. The value of the Arns article in this regard is to allow us to consider the performativity of works  where artists are not denying intentionality and see how they "work."
> 
> Looking forward to the discussions!
> 
> Jack
> 
> jack stenner, ph.d
> associate professor: art + technology
> school of art and art history
> university of florida
> 
> http://art-tech.arts.ufl.edu
> http://www.jackstenner.com
> 
> 
> On Mar 3, 2014, at 5:22 AM, Victoria Bradbury <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
>> Dear List,
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> The theme for March is co-hosted by two CRUMB team members, both doctoral
>> researchers: Victoria Bradbury <http://www.victoriabradbury.com> and Suzy
>> O'Hara.  (Our co-authored ISEA 2013 paper may be found here:
>> http://ses.library.usyd.edu.au//bitstream/2123/9818/1/crumbdoctoral.pdf).
>> 
>> Victoria's current research considers the performativity of code as it
>> relates to participatory new media artworks.  She is interested in ways
>> that performativity exists in interactive systems that may or may not be
>> labeled as "performances."
>> 
>> The term performativity can be looked at from a linguistic or theoretical
>> angle, or, as James Loxley states in his book *Performativity*, it can be
>> used "quite generally to denote the performance aspect of any object or
>> practice under consideration." Inke Arns introduced the phrase *the
>> performativity of code *to new media art discourse in her 2004 essay, *Read_Me,
>> Run_Me, Execute_Me: Software and its Discontents, or: It's the
>> Performativity of Code, Stupid.  *In this article, Arns refers to
>> performativity in the sense of J.L. Austin and speech act theory.  She
>> writes, "if I speak of the performativity of code, I claim that this
>> performativity is not to be understood as a purely technical
>> performativity, i.e. it does not only happen in the context of a closed
>> technical system, but affects the realm of the aesthetical, the political
>> and the social.  Program code is characterized by the fact that here
>> 'saying' coincides with 'doing'."
>> 
>>           We have invited 16 practitioners to this conversation. You are
>> artists, designers, curators, professors and theorists and your bios can be
>> found below.  We look forward to learning your take on the performativity
>> of code and seeing where your insight, along with the voices of all of the
>> list participants, will take this conversation over the course of the month.
>> 
>> To start the discussion, please introduce yourself and let us know how you
>> see the following question in relation to your practice:
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> *In what ways is performativity expressed in code?*
>> 
>> 
>> *This Month's Invited Respondents:*
>> 
>> *Dr. Jonah Brucker-Cohen* is an award winning researcher, artist, and
>> writer. He teaches in the MFA Design and Technology program at Parsons The
>> New School for Design.
>> Portfolio and Work: http://www.coin-operated.com
>> Scrapyard Challenge Workshops: http://www.scrapyardchallenge.com
>> Twitter: @coinop29
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> *Xtine Burrough* is an artist, author, and educator who bridges gaps
>> between histories, theories, and production in new media education.
>> www.missconceptions.net
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> *Paul Catanese* is a Hybrid Media Artist; Program Director of the
>> Interdisciplinary Arts & Media MFA at Columbia College Chicago, and was
>> President of the New Media Caucus from 2008 - 2014.
>> http://www.paulcatanese.com/ <http://www.paulcatanese.com/>
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> *Ami Clarke,* www.amiclarke.com, is an artist who both facilitates the
>> running of Banner Repeater: a reading room and project space on Platform 1,
>> Hackney Downs train station, opening up an experimental space for others,
>> whilst dually sharing the goal in her practice to explore ideas that come
>> of publishing, distribution, and dissemination: how the performance of
>> language increasingly impacts upon daily life. www.bannerrepeater.org
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> *Curt Cloninger* (*lab404.com <http://lab404.com>* | *playdamage.org
>> <http://playdamage.org>* | *deepyoung.org <http://deepyoung.org>*) is an
>> artist, writer, and Assistant Professor of New Media at the University of
>> North Carolina Asheville (US).
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> *Dr. Sara Diamond *is President of OCAD University. She is a visual
>> analytics, wearable technology and mobile media researcher, artist and
>> designer. She developed http://www.codezebra.net/, a social media software
>> and performance and responsive fashion environment and is co-principal
>> investigator of the Centre for Information Visualization and Data-Driven
>> Design http://www.civ-ddd.net/.
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> *Rachel Beth Egenhoefer* is an artist, designer, and professor, based in
>> San Francisco, whose work sits between technology, craft, and design.
>> www.rachelbeth.net
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> *G.H. Hovagimyan* is an experimental artist working in a variety of forms.
>> An Internet and new media pioneer, his works ranges from hypertext works to
>> digital performance art, interactive installations and HD video.  More info
>> may be found at http://nujus.net/~nujus/gh_04/bio.html
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> *Barbara Lattanzi* constructs what she calls "idiomorphic software".  See
>> her recent investigations of generativity documented at
>> www.vimeo.com/idiomorphics/
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> *Alex McLean* is a live coder and researcher based in Yorkshire. He is
>> co-founder of Slub, TOPLAP, algorave, chordpunch and the AHRC live
>> coding research network. He is research fellow of ICSRiM, School of
>> Music, University of Leeds. http://yaxu.org/
>> 
>> 
>> *A. Bill Miller *is an Assistant Professor of Art and Design at University
>> of Wisconsin-Whitewater focused on Digital Media Practices.
>> http://www.master-list2000.com/abillmiller/
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> *Stephanie **Rothenberg**'s* practice engages performance, installation,
>> print and digital media to create provocative interactions that expose the
>> power dynamics within technological utopias. Recent exhibitions include the
>> Sundance Film Festival, MASS MoCA, LABoral Art Center, Transmediale, Zer01
>> Biennial, New York Hall of Science and the Whitney Museum Artport. She is
>> Associate Professor in the Department of Visual Studies at SUNY Buffalo.
>> http://www.pan-o-matic.com/
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> *Kate Sicchio* works at the interface of choreography and technology. You
>> can see her work at http://blog.sicchio.com
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> *Jeremy Sigler *is a poet living in Brooklyn. A collection of prose poems
>> juxtaposed with photographs by ari marcopoulos is forthcoming from
>> Dashwood. Sigler was also the editor of a Carl Andre career retrospective
>> monograph forthcoming from dia art foundation and Yale university press.
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> *Jack Stenner*, Associate Professor of Art + Technology at the University
>> of Florida, synthesizes culture, hardware and software to create networked
>> installation and experimental cinema. http://www.jackstenner.com
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> *Isabella Streffen* is an artist and occasional curator. Her current work
>> is on aerial technologies, past, present and future. http://dronology.com

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