New Media and Performance – Lunchtime Chat Thursday, Sep 13th.
The New Media and Performance chat revolved heavily around technology, Internet and video, and understandings of them held by artists and audiences. It also meandered into other pastures pertinent to the panelist’s respective areas of work. The discussion went from posing scenarios about the future of the internet and how we would use it (“social network analysis” of our “persistent digital identities” will be big), to thinking aloud about PICA’s funding coming from Wieden + Kennedy, present employer of the sell-out formerly known as AC Dickson. There was also some interesting points raised about how new forms of media, often present in tba performances, are influencing works of art themselves; if our hyper-sensitivity to being connected via technology and the “art” of documentation is distracting audiences from the fundamental work at hand.
The panelists included more tech oriented types from Urbanhonking.com, to people less addicted to the web, like Peter Burr and Andrew Dickson. Urbanhonkings Mike Merrill went so far as to say “I don’t like being where there isn’t wifi.” However, he clearly seemed to like to be in contact, and viewed wifi as a means to another end. This was a guiding metaphor for the Chat, that the internet and use of technology in general was kept in perspective, such that it wasn’t the end all goal of these artists, or people just out in society. Mention was made of artists to whom the internet itself is the medium and endpoint, but not these panelists. It seemed the degree to which each participant used the internet correlated with the content of their responses to this question concerning technology. Everyone in the room seemed primarily a supporter of new media in performance art, and panelists didn’t swing too anti-tech or questioning of new media. Points of contention that did come up: fear of the digital permanence of performance, loss of ethical standards in digital arenas, and a general sense that there is a limiting of “real” life by constant digital mediation.
Stephanie Snyder moderated the conversation with insightful comments and questions, also nicely locating the discussion in Portland by referencing present social and political issues. A good conversation overall, especially for someone who is comfortable with using the web. How it pertains to works of art and artist practices on display at tba needs to be talked about more, and lucky for us this festival has plenty of opportunities.
Posted by: Benjamin Adrian