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The Performance Art Technology

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Performance Art Technology

On this page: {Intro} {Elements} {stuff}


And important thing to remember is that sometimes simple is better. In one episode of "Saturday Night Live", comic genius ??name?? came onto stage and stood next to a pedistal where there was a child's record player. He picked up the tone arm and put it play a song - a child's melody complete with cheap band accompaniment - and he'd sort of sway back and forth like a child might. He then lrtifted the tone arm set it to the resting post and then took a book an addressed the audience: "I've always liked this author and so i'd like to read to you from ??title?? by Ernest Hemingway." And he began to read - on and on, and then a few people would cough. And he'd look up: "Now if you don't behave you wont' get to hear the record." The audience "got it", as soon as he'd start reading again, they'd interrupt. He'd threaten. So, finally he gave up. "Ok, we'll listen to the record." He picked up the tone arm, put it on the record, and after a few seconds: It was a recording of him reading the Hemingway Book. - genius! Or as we in physics say: Beauty. Beauty squared.

Technology as Such

As Picasso reminds us: I've been trying my whole life to remember what it's like to be a child. My mother relates the story (that i don't remember) as to when i came back from school one day and excitedly told her, "Today we painted as the weasle!". So, a pack of 3x5 cards is TECHNOLOGY to a child who has never seen or experienced them. As John Cage and Naim Jun Paik has shown us, a piano is a hundred kinds of technology. So, let us begin. In the same way that we use colour, line, volume, and other such things (as thickness, blank-canvas, etc) to form a painting - we can search for new ways to bring technology into a work. The absurdist philosopher/comedian "Galliger" has shown: A watermellon and a large smash hammer are the most elegant of punch lines to ANY philosophical argument. Thus - setting the aburd aside for a moment (don't worry this time, we got a very nice dressing room)... The main thing is that technology should work like it should. But, of course we (like Jimmy Hendricks) should always be open to chanse - or was it pre-planned? So, let us take as read: The technology IS to work as it is designed or intended - otherwise, we are experimenting BEFORE the intended performance.


In this section: {
Technology as THING} {Technology Intrusions}

Technology as THING

This is the idea is that we use technology of one type and it (the technology or the technological thing) becomes the FOCUS of an gesture, plot-element, or act, etc. Technologies have an intended usage. As such, that aspect is "the expected". A broom: (not a push broom, but one of those that looks like bunch of straw bound at the end of a handle, and parallel to that handle). We sweep with it, brush way cob webs from the top of a wall, we bat at flying insects with it. Or... Hit someone over the head with it, Or of course ride it around the room like a witch. We can danse with it Parry and thrust like a sword etc. Thus, anything that even resembles a broom can be by *association of form* be transfered to the form. Thus, if it looks or acts "broom-like" then this would be a way to use the "technology" in a parallel way. But, this brings up the point if we are going to use the technology in the "expected" way -- or in some unusual way. Again, we need to weigh the +/-'s of such a decision. This is not to say, that this can't be used to show the failure of technology, or its potential use/abuse.

Technology Intrusions

Since technology IS so intrusive, we can mix and match them as elements to create supporting and/or conflicting aspects. To do this, we have to select the attributes that we are going to use; eg, a newspaper has all of those pieces of paper, a tv is loud intrusive and can suddenly interrupt, etc. Thus, we should brainstorm to get to the aspects of each technology (or other element) and how we plan to integrate it. We can see how this works in traditional drama: Papa is reading the paper, and Mama comes in and turns on the radio, and the article on the radio startles Papa who progressively hold the paper down so he can peer over it at the radio, and then it slips from his hands onto the floor as the DRAMATIC bit comes across the radio. Thus, the intrusive nature of the TV is used in the way that we put messages out into the perf space. But, the news paper has a tactle feel and can be thrown around a lot easier than a TV. In the same way, we analyse the elements and what attributes we want to "pull out" and set against or support other elements. Of course, we have to bear in mind the "normal" aspects that the viewers/participants assoicate with a given technology. At this point, since the technology element or the entire technology deployment (eg, imagine an array of TV's or radios or tables with news papers on them, etc) are simply elements in the perf space - we should consider if the techno thing might have a "role" or a "persona". In this case, they can be treated as other characters and thus have scripts, etc. This of course that character pairings and relations can extend to technology elements, etc. This is of course, the "norm" in TV sit-coms where the father hates all of that TV noise, but sits down to read the paper - or only listens to the news. Again, these are stereotypes (well known back drops) against which we can play off of - or of course alterin 180-degrees. But even this "flip it around" kind of thing becomes predictable -- which can be to set a pattern that is then broken. The Python was well aware of this; natch.