Tag Archives: hyperessay

Hyperessay: Hunt (2002) by Marita Liulia



Hunt is a 40 minute contemporary dance performance that combines live multimedia and animated images. It premiered in Teatro Piccolo Arsenale, The Venice Biennale, 2002, and has been performed 177 times in 38 countries.

Tero Saarinen had choreographed and performed a mesmerizing solo to Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring”, which was described by himself to have brought out the “violent, primitive and animal side of man at the same time as the spiritual and sacred”. He performed as both the hunter and the hunted of his inner demons – relating to the interior conflicts of the individual, his interpretation being an “offering of himself as a sacrifice rather than being a victim of society”. These symbolisms are enhanced by a stream of animated images that Martia Liulia generates on the spot and projects on his body while he dances, resulting in a genius combination of music, dance, light and images in one sublime to converse a message.

While many have commended Saarinen’s stunning movement and have also recognized Liulia’s projections, few have looked at Liulia’s multimedia involvement as significant, in the sense where they do not seem to recognize how much these images actually affect the way the audience interprets the performance as a whole. In fact, some have even questioned her involvement:

“There’s a danger that the dance’s layer of technology overtakes its physical expressiveness.” – Francois Fargue, Donald Hutera, Dance Europe, 2002

Begging to differ, I believe that Liulia’s technological layer of live multimedia on Saarinen’s body does not “overtake the physical expressiveness” of his contemporary movement, but rather acts as an amplifier towards creating a stronger sense of immersion with the piece, therefore allowing for a better transmission of intangible, imaginative concepts behind the solo towards the audience.

[To demonstrate my point, please refer to 5:10 – 6:10 of the video with sound on.]

Saarinen stays bent over for a good 10 seconds, then slowly rolls up with his eyes wide open for the rest of the minute, while questionable images and eyes are projected all over his body and costume by Liulia, in correspondence to the intense music.

Now, imagine watching Saarinen roll up for a long minute to the intense creeping music, without any form of trippy projection of light and images on his body. Would the performance have had the same effect on you, your thoughts, your interpretation of what’s going on? Very bluntly, no.

I, personally, felt a sense of suffocation that was maybe what Saarinen was trying to portray. What are all these big, intense, scary eyes? Why are they all staring at me? Why are they coming from all over the place? It is through this projection of images by Liulia, combined with the movement and expression of Saarinen as well as the music,  that I am able to interpret my own understanding of the concept of hunting and being hunted. The eyes are those of society and/or my inner demons, and I am being hunted by them. They would not leave me alone! As the performance goes on, we get to see how Saarinen eventually offers himself as a sacrifice, rather than be a victim as he seems to be in this segment.


Ivan Sutherland had managed to give people a chance to “gain familiarity with concepts not realizable in the physical world” through his invention of “The Ultimate Display”, which created an augmented reality that allowed people to see the calculations of what is not recognized by the common. In my understanding, he basically created a world of his own rules, and made it possible for other people to enter and see for themselves through visualized mathematical calculations.

Although in not as literal of a manner as Sutherland’s “The Ultimate Display” in allowing people to see and understand something not currently realizable, I believe Hunt has also managed to immerse audiences in identifying an intangible image and/or message created by the combination of choreography, music, lighting design as well as Liulia’s multimedia projections. The message, of course, being Saarinen’s interpretation and physical translation of the music score as described before.


“The scientific study of control and communication in the animal and the machine.” – Norbert Wiener

Communication is defined as “the imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium”, hence despite Hunt not being an interactive piece between the performer and the audience where the audience affects the performance’s outcome through feedback, communication still exists where a message is still being transmitted from performer to audience.

With that, as discussed in class, there is an indefinite amount of combinations for the process of cybernetics, and this is what I’ve observed in Hunt:

Performance (Mixed mediums) + Data in individual audience’s minds = Interpretation

Every individual is bound to have their own interpretation of what is trying to be communicated, given that there are no words mentioned to help convey any specific message. Every individual has had their own experiences leading up to the point of time of watching the performance, and at the time would also be going through a particular phase unique to him/her that will essentially affect their thought process (input+data) resulting in their output (interpretation).


Given that the stream of communication only exists between performer to individual audience members, I would not say that the effects of Hunt is like hypermedia, which focuses on a nonlinear network of information as it seems more linear than not. Perhaps in another world where mind reading exists, the different outputs that exist in each audience member’s mind could act as intangible “images”, “movies”, “graphics” or “text” that others could tap into, therefore forming an intangible sort of nonlinear network of information.

(949 words)



Hyperessay: Key Work Selection

HUNT (2002)

By: Tero Saarinen Company and Marita Liulia (live multimedia, photos)

Hunt is a 40 minute contemporary dance performance that combines live multimedia and animated images. It premiered in Teatro Piccolo Arsenale, The Venice Biennale, 2002, and has been performed 177 times in 38 countries.

Tero Saarinen choreographed and performed a mesmerising solo to Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring”, which was described by Saarinen to have brought out the “violent, primitive and animal side of man at the same time as the spiritual and sacred”. He performed as both the hunter and the hunted of his inner demons – relating to the interior conflicts of the individual, his interpretation being an offering of himself as a sacrifice rather than being a victim of society. These symbolisms are enhanced by a stream of animated images that Martia Liulia generates on the spot and projects on his body while he dances, resulting in a combination of music, dance and video images in one sublime to converse a message.


It has been argued that Liulia’s technological involvement with the dance performance through her live multimedia projections could have acted as danger towards the dance’s physical expressiveness, yet I believe it could instead be the opposite, where her involvement helped amplify the audience’s sense of immersion with the piece, therefore allowing for a better transmission of intangible messages.

Hyperessay: Artist Selection


The artist that I have chosen is Marita Liula, an artist-director from Helsinki and Heinola, Finland, working in her own production company Medeia (est. 1997).

“The limits can only be found by experiment”

Marita started her artistic career in the theatre, starting her experiments with different art forms during the 1980s, including media art productions, paintings, photography, stage performances, short films, books and games. She has never stopped experimenting ever since, and her unique quality of integrating all these media forms together is what I find so intriguing.

Reference: https://www.maritaliulia.com/bio-cv

Symposium Hyperessay

Art of the Networked Practice: Online Symposium

Having never attended an event through third space before, the online symposium hosted on Adobe Connect was a rather intriguing experience for me. It was surely interesting to see how artists around the world practiced the concepts that we have only just picked up through the semester, including DIWO, third space and glitch art. The performances provided were no doubt abstract, and while it was difficult to come to my own conclusions about how I felt about the performances, the live discussions that took place during the live performances definitely did open my mind up to different interpretations.

Overall, this essay will analyse how the use of third space to bring across messages to audiences from around the world can be seen as both facilitating and obstructing.


On the first day of the symposium was a live webcam performance put up by Annie Abrahams along with seven other performers from around the globe, titled “Entanglement”. The piece was essentially about investigating how humans can be together, while being separated, through  the online world. In order to practice DIWO, the performers had to accept the glitches that came together with the use of a third space such as time lags. Through Abraham’s blog, I have learnt that not all of these artists had even met before in real life, nor have they all performed together before.

The whole performance consisted of constant changing of random objects on screen by the performers, along with prepared phrases relating to the individuals’ own idea of politics as well as voices to create a sound environment.

Screencap from Entangled

As discussed by Marc Garrett and mentioned in my first research critique, DIWO “examines the grey areas of creative control, the nuances of power exchange and what this means for independent thinking artists and collectives working within collaborative contexts, socially, culturally and ethically”. DIWO is practiced strongly here, as we can see how each individual holds equal power in the creation of the performance where their choice of object shown, phrase said and sound made is what builds the environment.

Some phrases mentioned include:
“You are our only hope now. Resistance fully supports you as our leader.”
“Tactics, comrades. Tactics.”
“Take me to your leader.”
“The machine repeats what its told.”
“Many of my favourite are not artists”

I personally found this performance intriguing as the phrases mentioned and objects simultaneously shown had no correlation at all, or at least towards anyone who was not the performer. It seems as though this was also a practice of glitch art, where glitch is defined as “an interruption that shifts an object away from its ordinary form and discourse” in Glitch Studies Manifesto. Perhaps, towards the performer, the object could have held meaning that related to his/her choice of political phrase, yet towards everyone else, it seemed more like random choices of objects and phrases being put together. It was interesting to see how political contexts were being ‘discussed’ in such a manner, where revolutionary contradictions and affirmations of ideas could have been made simply through these independent thinking artists putting together an abstract collaborative performance through their webcams. The time lag definitely did play a part in the performance, as the overriding voices made it become unclear of which phrase belonged to which performer.

From this, the performance comes as a clear example of how third space can facilitate the idea of connecting people from around the world by breaking physical boundaries – and perhaps, also allowing for wanted anonymous discussion. Yet, at the same time, this third space can also prevent genuine human connection due to the glitches that come along, causing unintended effects that may lead to other forms of results in communication, such as an unintended anonymous discussion.


The third day of the symposium managed to capture my attention for a much longer time, with the different acts that took place – specifically, the ones featuring 愛真 Janet Lin and Paula Pinho Martins Nacif (XXXTRAPRINCESS) as well as Roberto Sifuentes.

XXXTRAPRINCESS as Snapchat Personas

The performance by XXXTRAPRINCESS consisted of a duo, dressed up and decorated through Snapchat filters so as to take on the personification of princesses. Live, their performance took place through both the Adobe Connect stream and Snapchat videos. They also generated hashtagged social media streams, where the local Chicago attendees, as well as live viewers could use to spread the discussed topics to other social media platforms such as Twitter where there was possibility of turning information around (i.e. glitching). Topics discussed mainly revolved around societal issues, especially those relating to gender, such as feminism.

The performers had made use of the online third space environment to create online personas, so much as to constitute to an ‘alternative social world’ where these personas could only exist, and not in physical space. Perhaps, discussing such trivial topics while adhering to their created personas that seem to ‘mean no harm’ could possibly be their method of gathering people’s attention to serious topics, without triggering sensitivity. For instance, if XXXTRAPRINCESS were to be their serious, real women selves discussing feminism, would the reactions of those sensitive to the topic (e.g. those who are against feminism) be the same? These people might have instead tuned out of the stream, rather than stick around to listen to what these ‘princesses’ have to offer.

On the other hand, it can also be argued that their wild online personas could instead be a distraction towards the seriousness of the topics that they were discussing. Would viewers be able to take such characters decorated in Snapchat filters, discussing trivial societal issues, seriously?

Another idea that was also discussed in the live chat was about the use of various media platforms to discuss the topics.

Taken from Chat Transcript Day 3

In summary of the comments by Daniel Pinheiro and Alan Sondheim, is the use of multiple platforms for discussion of such trivial topics a boon or a bane?

On one hand, the Internet/social media allows for a very fast, spread of information as well as discussion that can not possibly take place in real life across people around the world. As such, it can be argued that XXXTRAPRINCESS’s use of several platforms along with the hashtags helps to have their discussions reach out to wider audiences, therefore allowing them to raise more awareness about the topics.

However, could the ‘capability’ of the Internet/social media become radicalised? Information is spread and topics are discussed so quickly that miscommunication, where information becomes wrongly translated, becomes inevitable. Furthermore, the use of cameras on both Adobe Connect and Snapchat makes it so that what viewers see is controlled and curated – what we see is not actually genuine, which could affect our perceptions on the discussed topics.

XXXTRAPRINCESS’s performance was therefore an example of how third space can act as both supporting and opposing tools at the same time.


Finally, we have the performance by Roberto Sifuentes along with his assistant that resembles what seems to be very much like a spiritual ritual, with the involvement of blood, suspenseful music and red lights.

Assistant placing leeches on Roberto Sifuentes’ face

Throughout my two attended days of the symposium, I felt that the use of an online third space to broadcast this particular performance stood out to me the most. This could possibly because this performance did not have any use of words, which were highly involved in Annie Abrahams’ Entangled and the performance by XXXTRAPRINCESS, which thus led to there being a very wide variety of interpretations of the performance that could then be instantly discussed on the live chat by viewers.

For instance, many viewers including myself related the performance to something of a ritual.

Taken from Chat Transcript Day 3

On the other hand, some other viewers seemed to have very different thoughts, such as Alan Sondheim and Devyn Mañibo who thought about ‘typical’ gender roles being played around with in the performance, where the female assistant instead becomes the one in control (of the leeches) while the male loses his power.


Taken from Chat Transcript Day 3

Then, there were those who brought up the significance of leeches: Was it the man who was suffering, or the leeches? Who was the real leech?

Taking a look at all the different interpretations, the idea that resonated with me most is about the roles played by the man and the leeches. Could it be that, rather than the man suffering from being leeched on as symbolised by his bleeding, his willingness to be leeched on comes as symbolism of how we willingly let ourselves be consumed by the Internet despite its harmful effects?

Performance context aside, this was where the allowance of live discussion through third space became most apparent to me as I was thoroughly confused throughout the performance and actually needed the instant interpretations by other viewers. Instantly after the performance was also a proper discussion by the host(s), which would not have been possible if not for third space that breaks the boundaries of physical distance. Had this performance not been streamed live with hosts, would I have had to wait for a write-up on the performance?


I believe that there will always be pros and cons to any situation, with the use of third space as a form of streaming performances, as well as having performances being available to only physical audiences not being an exception.

Only having a live-physical-audience means that no one else in other spaces can participate in performances or discussions.

While the use of third space resolves that, information may then become glitched.