Days attended: 1 & 2
The Art of the Networked Practice Online Symposium is an international gathering presenting emerging research, artistic work, and technological innovation in the networked arts. Intended as a global and inclusive gathering, with no registration fees, the symposium unites local and remote speakers and audiences from all corners of the world via Webconferencing, bridging Singapore with an active international new media arts community that transcends geographic and cultural boundaries. The symposium demonstrates how networked space can be used to activate live performance and online artistic work, stimulate creative dialogue, and encourage open sharing of knowledge through an online global exchange.
Day 1 | Online En-semble – Entanglement Training
In this piece of performance, Annie Abrahams and the 7 other performers including Antye Greie, Helen Varley Jamieson, Soyung Lee, Huong Ngô, Daniel Pinheiro as well as Igor Stromajer come together online to investigate how people can be together in a connected world where machines and humans need to learn to communicate in the world of partial overviews, glitches, time-lags, disrupting audience participation and ensuing disorientations.
“Rather than fighting the glitches, errors and disruptions that are inherent in our everyday online interactions, particularly via live Internet communications, she discovers the work through these networked “entanglements,” observing the resulting interactions, and finding creative solutions to building compelling visual and sonic moments in distributed time and space.” -Randall Packer
For this performance, Annie Abrahams wrote a script for 7 performers coming from different cultural backgrounds and without any restriction and knowledge of what the other performers would be doing, each performers would have to converse with each other using objects of their choice and perform with their prepared phrases and voices. In these voices, they share their phrases of relation to politics. As such, due to the ambiguities brought about by numerous factors as well as the unknown, this piece of performance act as a communication platform for the performers.
As an audience, it was truly mesmerising to see how the performance come together in terms of the visual as well as the audio that were provided by none other than the mouths of the performers themselves. As we had previously attempted a piece of performance with Annie Abrahams, we truly understand the difficulty to be in tune with the rest of the performers since we do not really know what would happen next. As such, watching this piece of performance was really wonderful and amusing since these performers has amazing and wonderful telepathy and tacit understanding with each other.
During the performance, performers can be heard saying different timings such as “1 milliseconds” and starting off their phrases and performance with “excellent”. While these are interesting phrases, I felt that in this piece of performance, the most interesting aspect would be the live commentary by the audiences while the performance was being carried out.
“All conversations are unfinished and in a way this seems to be the heart of the symposium, the piece, the chat, even the latency” -Alan Sondheim
Referencing to what Alan Sondheim has said in the chat during the performance, I felt that this piece of performance was able to attain another form of “entanglements” in the form of the chat room which adds to the layers and dynamics. Even though the chat may or may not be considered in the performance piece itself, it stayed true to the essence of the piece. While some participants felt apologetic to the performers for their commentary during the performance (which the performer was perfectly okay with), I personally felt that it adds a great and fun touch to the performance itself. The comments were able to add a different perspective to the performance at live time which was definitely helpful.
Day 2 | Keynote Speaker – Matt Adams
“As well as highlighting a current phenomenon, Kidnap is about control and consent, the media, theatre and lottery culture. It is a conceptual act, a perversity and a psychological investigation.” -Blast Theory
In this project, numerous theme were explored by the Blast Theory team. Themes included control and consent, media, lottery culture, theatre, psychological investigation and voyeurism. While all the themes were of rather intriguing reasons and underlying meaning, the idea of control and consent strikes me.
In terms of the idea of control and consent, the two participants are invited to be “kidnapped” and hand over their lives to strangers for two days. Due to the consent given by the “victims” this project poses a rather interesting dynamic between the people involved. However, even with such consent and control given, as perfectly pictured by Blast Theory, “It asks for an act of trust, of abandonment, for faith in the unknown.”.
Despite the “victims” knowing that they are in an act or rather performance, does the consent and control given really change the whole idea of kidnap? Being kept in captivity for 2 days, not knowing what is happening with the blind folds on, the consciousness of being in an act of being kidnapped might soon be diluted. While the “victims” could very well adapt to this whole performance and treat it as a form of adventure for 48 hours, the grey area presented by this project could be further explored.
Throughout the entire keynote talk, the one phrase which caught me the most would perhaps be this by Matt Adams in his discussion of kidnap.
“perhaps the primary skill of being a president is acting as one instead of being one”
This phrase that was mentioned by Matt Adams is extremely applicable in my opinion to today’s world where the world of politics is almost as dramatised as that of the entertainment industry. Donald Trump, a television personality turned President of the United States would always be the best example to this phrase. Is he really being one or acting like he is someone who is capable of? The latter one would make more sense, looking at all the scandals which he has made pre-president, right now and in perhaps so in the future.