net art, video, performance

Annie Abrahams

Agency Art II

collectively made, refusing hierarchy, a knitting together of artists and performers in the moment of the event, erasure of the artistic ego, practice, changing rules, choices, connecting, accepting the unexpected, responsive, shared, collaboratively authored, open to all, working with temporal behavioral phenomena, healing, enactment, improvised, including environmental conditions, attentional strategies,  instructions, protocols,  apparatus, meeting, embracing the ordinary, rehearsing alternatives, re-hijacking therapy, exercising our relations to others, our social (in)capacities, exploring rituals, being together, participatory,
concerns individuals and politics

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Agency Art seems to be a difficult term: too much bad feelings go with the word (NSA) ; too similar sounding to Art Agency, and so it triggers thoughts about commerce. Still I want to persevere. For years I used silently the term “behavioural art” to think about what I was doing – silently yes, because for someone trained in biology “behavioural” is a stained word. It turned out that for others “agency” is just as stained. But for me it’s  an empowering word, referring to Butler, ANT theory and Karen Barad.

Agency Art is beyond disciplines. It’s a point of view, an anchor point from where to think critically about (my) artistic practices.

Let me try, while forgetting temporarily all the theoretical implications, to mention a few projects, I would like to name of Agency Art : Darren O’Donnell‘s social theater works and his book Social Acupuncture which argues for an aesthetics of civic engagement, Miranda July‘s work Somebody, where text messages are delivered by a real person. Félix González-Torres Untitled (Portrait of Ross in L.A.) a 175 pound-pile of candy, from which visitors are encouraged to take samples, Eduardo Kac’s Darker than Night and Teleporting an Unknown State 1994/96, Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present and 512 hours, where the public became the performing body, Yoko Ono‘s Cut piece, Gego‘s work on networks and space and a lot of Lygia Clark‘s multi-sensory participative work.

gegoretiulareafg-01126-ao-700x372 Gego, Reticulárea. 1981.

To find keywords for Agency Art I choose some specific examples (from fine art, dance, theater, music, performance, digital art and electronic poetry) : Deufert&Plischke’s work, LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner’s HEWILLNOTDIVIDE.US, Building Conversation by Lotte van den Berg, Deep listening by Pauline Oliveros, Poietic Generator by Olivier Auber, Lingua Ignota by Samantha Gorman and Walking Practices by Ienke Kastelein. (more info on each piece at the bottom of this post)

Why didn’t I include a relational aesthetic artists as for instance Rirkit Tiravanija who initiates ways to enable the public to be a part of the art-making process?
Because the public can’t make choices in his work – it is like a staged environment, which needs these people to make it alive, but does not give them any agency – they are not challenged to make choices besides being there or not being there.

Agency Art is art that makes it clear to the receiver via his or her body what is at stake, where opportunities for action lie, and which virtual* behaviours he or she can actualize. It demonstrates how choices work, and how to create patterns that retain their coherence while you remain part of them and transform when you move within their field of action. (* virtual understood as potentiality, not as a quality or in a re-presentable way) Mulder 2012.
(This refers to my first post on Agency Art.)

Agency Art is made of interaction, but should be constructed, looked at with intra-active glasses.
(This refers to a post on inter-intra-action.)

I still need to read a bit on Latour :) before I can write something about the many definitions, different, but related, takes on agency. Gell, Barad, Spinoza, Butler …

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Filed under: Articles / Texts, Of interest, , , , , , , ,

inter – intra – action (fr)

Depuis quelques temps j’essaie de réfléchir sur un nouveau concept: Agency Art, que j’ai découvert dans un texte d’Arjen Mulder de 2012.
J’aime beaucoup cette notion, parce que elle ne prend pas un medium, ou une technologie comme point de départ, mais met en avant ce que celles-ci rendent possible. C’est un art qui s’ancre dans les choix comportementaux, dans les gestes. Son sens est les actions rendus possibles. J’ai écrit un billet qui en parle plus amplement. (en anglais)

interintra

Mulder intègre ses idées dans l’histoire. Il remonte vers des penseurs comme Spinoza, Shannon, Wiener, MacKay, McLuhan, Cassirer, Langer, Gell, Latour, Heidegger, Derrida, Badiou, Rancière, Danto, Whitehead, Steiner, Rolnik et encore d’autres.

Dans mes tentatives de mieux comprendre ce que ce concept pourrait apporter à ma propre pratique artistique je lis des entretiens (en anglais) avec Karen Barad une physicienne et féministe américaine qui parle d’un autre concept nouveau pour moi: l’intra-action.
Dans les années 90 du siècle dernier le mot interaction était un mot clef pour analyser mes œuvres en hypertext. Peut être aujourd’hui l’intra-action peut m’aider à mieux réfléchir mes travaux de performance collaborative où il n’est pas vraiment clair ce qui provoque quoi, où se trouve l’agence – ne pas entre les entités clairement distinctes, mais venant de l’intérieur d’un tout, où les conditions du serveur, les ordinateurs individuels, les différents webcams et périphériques sonores, ainsi que les voix et les images des co-performeurs, les conditions d’éclairage locales et les situations familiales sont toutes enchevêtrées dans ce que Barad appellerait un phénomène.

L’intra-action (en opposition à interaction), un néologisme introduit par Barad, représente un profond tournant conceptuel dans les métaphysiques individualistes. Pour Barad, les choses et les objets ne précèdent pas leur interaction, mais plutôt, les « objets émergent à travers des intra-actions particulières ». Source Wikipedia.fr

Ce n’est pas simple du tout de comprendre les idées de Barad. J’étais contente de trouver une vidéo qui semblait l’expliquer simplement et puis je l’ai transcrit et j’ai essayé de traduire ce texte en français. (voir en bas) Tout ça pour me rendre compte que je n’en ai toujours qu’une compréhension superficielle. Ce n’est pas grave. Barad se base sur la théorie quantique et des pensées de Bohr, Butler, Harraway et Foucault. Je leur prendrai des  termes comme phenomenon, agency, apparatus et intra-action. Ils vont ré-apparaître.

Video Written & Created by: Stacey Kerr, Erin Adams, & Beth Pittard

La transcription / traduction du texte de la vidéo: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Of interest, , , , , , , ,

inter – intra – action (Eng)

Interaction was the word I used 20 years ago when I talked about my work in hypertext. Today I need other words: one word, I already wrote about it in my last post, is Agency Art. Another might be Intra-action. I first met it in Mousse magazine #34 (2012), pp.76–81: “Intra-actions” – Interview of Karen Barad by Adam Kleinmann. You can download the interview here.

This word could be usefull to analyze my works of collaborative performance art, as for instance Angry Women, where it is not really clear what is causing what, where the agency is – not between clearly distinguisable entities, but coming from within a whole, where server conditions, individual computers, webcam and sound devices, as well as the voices and images of the co-performers, local light conditions and family situations are all entangled in what Barad would call the phenomenon.
Barad uses quantum physics to articulate a feminist view on the philosophy of science. She builds on Donna Harraway and Niels Bohr. It is not easy to understand her and I was happy to find this video that seemed quit clear.

Video Written & Created by: Stacey Kerr, Erin Adams, & Beth Pittard

But when I transcribed the spoken text, I gathered my understanding might be superficial. Concepts like phenomenon, agency, apparatus all mean something different in different contexts. And when I read in the English wikipedia: “For Barad, things or objects do not precede their interaction, rather, ‘objects’ emerge through particular intra-actions. Thus, apparatuses, which produce phenomena, are not assemblages of humans and nonhumans (as in actor-network theory). Rather, they are the condition of possibility of ‘humans’ and ‘non-humans’, not merely as ideational concepts, but in their materiality.”, I was sure I wasn’t completely getting it (yet) – to be continued.
I feel intra-action will give me a clue on why Agency Art is something not popular in the humanities, in media art etc. (yet).
Here is the transcription of the video:

Read the rest of this entry »

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Agency Art.

trustattentionbis

Agency Art is art that makes it clear to the receiver via his or her body what is at stake, where opportunities for action lie, and which virtual behaviours he or she can actualize. It demonstrates how choices work, and how to create patterns that retain their coherence while you remain part of them and transform when you move within their field of action.

I have been reading Arjen Mulder‘s* article THE BEAUTY OF AGENCY ART, and I recommand it strongly. (You can download the article on academia.edu, read it in the book Vital Beauty, V2_Publishing (2012) or download it here.)

Often, when I talk about my artistic work I tell it’s using behaviour as it’s material and builds on an aesthetic of trust and attention. Sometimes people ask me what I mean by that.

I then tell them that in Being Human / Etant Humain (1997 / 2007) I was more interesting in creating the field, the network of choices in the  html page, than in the multimedia side of it. I told them I saw the works as low-tech mood mutators and interrogations on communication. I didn’t want the work to be immersive. And in my later online performance art projects (Huis Clos / No Exit, Angry Women, besides,, Distant Feeling(s)) I use strict protocols, which strangely leave a lot of freedom to the performers, so we – and they also – can reflect on their behaviour.

Attention and trust are requisites for this to happen and necessities when taking distance of the feelings provoked to appreciate its aesthetics.

Agency Art gives me a new terminology that might help me think these ideas further – I like the word because it doesn’t take any technology or medium as it’s starting point, but puts what these make possible in the foreground. It is art that has behavioural choices, gestures as it’s anchor points. Its meaning is the acts made possible.

The significance of Agency Art is related to a concept called “virtual behavioural space”. This concept is an extension of the concept of “virtual feeling” that Susanne K. Langer in Feeling and Form (1953) introduced. Each individual art medium evokes, manipulates and investigates “virtual feelings” in its own way.
A painting calls forth virtual depth with lines and colours; a sculpture constructs a virtual volume around itself; a novel constitutes virtual memory, tracked through virtual time. Dance follows virtual forces of attraction and repulsion. All the experiences that are part of this “feeling” are spaces of possibility, virtual feelings waiting for actualization; their nature, allurements and dangers must be studied, and art is where this investigation takes place.

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Why no-one else took to using Agency Art? Mulder embeds his ideas in history, goes back to thinkers as Shannon, Wiener, MacKay, McLuhan, Cassirer, Langer, Gell, Latour, Heidegger, Derrida, Badiou, Rancière, Danto, Whitehead, Steiner, Rolnik and others.
Maybe because his writing was too diffracted at the moment of publishing?
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Diffraction is meant to disrupt linear and fixed causalities, and to work toward ‘‘more promising interference patterns’’. This can be practiced by reading texts through one another, and rewriting. It disrupts the temporality of a piece of writing, transverses boundaries such as discipline, and can change meanings in different contexts opening up meaning. Iris van der Tuin on wikispaces.com.

More on diffractive reading and writing in Matter feels, converses, suffers, desires, yearns and remembersan Interview with Karen Barad by Rick Dolphijn and Iris van der Tuin (2009).
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*Already in 2005 I read Understanding Media Theory (2004) a book by Mulder (also available on academia.edu). I was influenced by his thoughts. Ik heb ook zijn boek De vrouw voor wie Cesare Pavese zelfmoord pleegde (2004) gelezen. Ik ben ook een fan van Pavese.*

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An organic acceptance of silence?

liminal space – pure motion – an intimate regard – a field of light – dissolved, destabilized – an altered state – a telematic embrace – a silent small reprieve – hanging out with friends – machines conversing across the network only when the noisy humans finally shut up

This was the first time we (Daniel Pinheiro, Lisa Parra and Annie Abrahams) invited people to join us in our online performance experiment Distant Feeling(s) #3. The performance was projected as part of the festival Visions in the Nunnery gallery (London).
After the performance the surprise was great when, in the video, I saw the silent faces of others joining us for a shorter or longer time.

How does it feel to share an interface with eyes closed and no talking?

How did it feel?

When you participated, when you took the time to connect and join, you tried to feel the others and became more and more concentrated on being in a liminal space.

When you watched the projection or the video, you could see this concentration, these faces who more and more descended into “pure motion”, these faces that abandonned real space and got elsewhere – you were allowed an intimate “regard”.

Here is my reaction (e-mail to Daniel and Lisa) just after the performance : “Felt “lost” – disturbed by the idea that there were “sneekers, peekers – disturbed also by my own curiosity, by my wish to see who was there and how they looked with closed eyes.
I felt light, as if I were in a field of light, changing, living light, not with human beings, and probably because that frightened me I tried to visualize you both, to imagine, how, where you were, I tried to make something I could understand of what I felt – as if you were familiar to me – I never met you – but still, apparently you became reassuring, close.
When I opened my eyes, everything became normal, just people, nice people around me on a screen. They have become more familiar now too. Looking at the screenshots of this session I feel grateful for their presence (they made the light).

Disolved I felt.
Maybe even empty. Certainly destabilised.
This may sound mystic, but in fact it might have been a very concrete experience – just the light flickering of the in- and out-going participants shimmering through my eyelids provoking an altered state?”

This is Randall Packer‘s reaction to it in a facebook discussion afterwards : “It was wonderfull – Like your work The Kiss, or Paul Sermon’s telematic pieces, the sensation of intimacy is never “real,” it is based on the willingness to believe and to allow closeness to become “real” despite separation. For those who participated in this experiment, it was exactly that: the willingness to suspend one’s belief in the knowledge of the virtual proximity and connectiveness of the others. It is that knowledge that can can be convincing enough to suspend disbelief and thus be silently wrapped in the telematic embrace. This work is a great model for how we might conduct ourselves on the Internet.”

Johannes Birringer on the same occasion. “I was waiting for silence to fall, after the chatter. when it occured, there was no embrace. but a faint sensation of sharing a silent small reprieve, over the constant noise and anger of the world, but an alonesilence as one could not see the others. it is the strangest experience, to be alonesilentblind with assumed others somewhere out there.”

And Nicolaas Schmidt called it “hanging out with friends…”.

Ruth Catlow, who was among the public at the Nunnery remarked : “Was it machine feedback… that mechanical clicking and beeping? The machines conversing across the network only when the noisy humans finally shut up! Like the toys that come alive in the magic toyshop when the children are asleep. I wanted it to get louder and louder till the whole world rang out- WE MACHINES ARE HERE AND WE ARE COMMUNICATING!
To what Randall reacted : “I love your observation that once the network is silenced of human conversation, all that is left is the hum of networked devices, the “nervous system” of the Net.”

Daniel Pinheiro compiled more reactions on Landproject.

On January 16th 2017, Muriel Piqué watched the video and wrote :

Silence / Silence
Je fouille l’image du silence / I explore the image of silence
Des têtes se tournent lentement / Heads turn slowly
8’44 un chien aboie au loin / 8’44 a dog barks far off
Je lis la résistance des corps à l’immobilité / I read the resistance of bodies to immobility
Je ressens l’acceptation organique du silence / I feel the organic acceptance of silence

And all the time the machines kept talking, exchanging data, making noise …

Some time ago I watched an interview by Gretta Louw with Sandra Danilovic in Second Life. They talk, among others, about our readiness to relate to an avatar in a bodily and emotional way. Why? Is there an evolutionary base for that? Sandra states, that, in our subconcious, we don’t percieve the self as an atomised individual identity, that precognitively we percieve the environment as a part of ourselves. Would such a thought be helpfull to understand better what happens? And is it true?

Filed under: networked performance, Performance, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Stranger Collaborations – London Art Fair.

18 – 22 January 2017,
London Art Fair, the Art Projects Screening Room,
Stranger Collaborations.
Curation Pryle Behrman.

Artists in the show:
Annie Abrahams (Angry Women Take 2), Émilie Brout & Maxime Marion (Glitter), Ruth Catlow (Time Is Speeding Up), Liz Sterry (Drinking Alone) and Michael Szpakowski (Shit Happens in Vegas).

Stranger Collaborations is an exhibition featuring artworks that in some way wouldn’t have been possible without the collaborations formed via the internet, showing how strangers can, sometimes even unknowingly, create an artistic partnership online.

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Liz Sterry, ‘Drinking Alone with the Internet, Star Wars Edition, Take 1’.

The artworks of Annie Abrahams and Liz Sterry create temporary communities that are ‘safe spaces’ in which socially-proscribed behaviours – such as public anger or private alcohol consumption – are accepted and even embraced. Mark Westall, short interview of Pryle Behrman in Fadmagazine.

What to see at the London Art Fair 2017? Art Fund_  Jan 11.

Filed under: Exhibition, Video, , , , , ,

poésie numérique – OPP*

masterclassaa

Retour sur la Master class Poésie numérique (2 nov. 2016) sur le site de lr2l.

Enregistrement sur mixcloud. 1:44:09.

.pdf de la preparation du masterclass
.pdf avec des liens vers les textes produits

Quelques phots :

*OPP = OpenSourcePedagogy

Filed under: Collective writing, Conference / lecture, e-literature, Workshop, , , , ,

Distant Feelings #3 – VisionS.

Thursday 24 Nov.
6.30 pm London time, 19h30 Paris time.
Duration 15 min.
Timeconvertor for other places.

To participate Download the zoom.us application https://zoom.us/download – desktop or other devices – and “Join meeting” ID = 630407193: https://zoom.us/j/630407193 .

VisionS in the Nunnery Programme 2 Launch.
Curated by Tessa Garland and Cinzia Cremona.
The Nunnery, 181 Bow Road, London E3 2SJ.
Visions full programme. (5/10 – 18/12 2016)

visions_002

Lisa Parra in New York, USA,
Daniel Pinheiro in Porto, Portugal and
Annie Abrahams in Montpellier, France
will gather in an online séance trying to experience each other’s presence.

How does it feel to share an interface with eyes closed and no talking?

You can participate in this digital mindfulness experiment.
Download the zoom.us application – desktop or other devices – and “Join meeting” ID = 630407193: https://zoom.us/j/630407193 at the right time.

Some members of the public at the Nunnery will also be able to join in.

visions-logo-large

The piece presented by Annie Abrahams (Distant Feeling(s) #1) continues the research of an artist who challenges the relational utopias attributed to the internet by creating performances which reveal empty yet precious moments, and the banality of interpersonal relations. The performance links Abrahams to two other artists (Daniel Pinheiro & Lisa Parra); from three different locations the three seek to communicate sensations and emotions. Cinzia Cremona (one of the curators) in ARSHAKE  Oct. 3 2016.

Filed under: Event, networked performance, Performance, , , , , , , ,

OpenSourcePPP attitude.

rapport1Dans l’espoir que celles-ci peuvent servir à d’autres artistes, enseignants et chercheurs je publie les scores/scripts de mes performances, mes préparations pour mes workshops, conférences etc. en ligne.
Je pense ne pas être la seule qui le fait. Comment en parler? Comment promouvoir cette attitude ? Sous quel intitulé ?

OSPPP (pédagogie, protocole, performance script), OSC (course), OSW (walkthrough)

Voici ceux concernant mon passage au Digital Lab de l’ESBA au Mans, 15 novembre 2016 :

* .pdf Préparation pour le workshop performance en réseau, 2 heures, 6 personnes.

* .pdf Walkthrough pour la conférence Un parcours atypique, 2 heures.

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touch

Filed under: Conference / lecture, networked performance, Performance, Workshop, , , , ,

Digital Lab ESBA – Un parcours atypique ?

15 novembre 2016. Une journée au Digital Lab ESBA le Mans. Sur invitation de Marie-Laure Cazin.

10h – 12h. Atelier Performance en réseau. Max 6 étudiants.

Une performance en ligne c’est quoi ? Est-ce que nous pourrions l’expérimenter ? Oui, mais ce n’est pas un jeu, il nous faut un protocole. Nous allons l’écrire ensemble. Oui, ensemble, radicalement horizontalement ensemble, nous en écrirons plusieurs. Et puis nous les exécuterons devant une webcam.
Mon protocole pour ce workshop sera publié après (open source pedagogy).

parcours3desertnum

14h – 16h. Un parcours atypique ? Euh non, pas tellement. Conférence dans l’Amphi.
Annie Abrahams développe ce qu’elle appelle une esthétique de l’attention et de la confiance, dont le comportement humain est la matière première.
Elle parlera de son parcours, de ses motivations et du comment aujourd’hui la recherche et l’art se mélangent dans sa pratique d’artiste.

Filed under: Conference / lecture, Workshop, ,

Upcoming

* 19/03 2017 Presentation in Avant-garde, theatre and everything else, Łódź, Poland. Invitation Ryszard W. Kluszczynski.
* 21-24/03 2017 Workshops Performance en réseau.
23/03 18h30. Conférence Performances dé-matérialisées? CNAC, Châlons-en-Champagne.
* 18/06 2017 11h. Talk Networked performance art and engagement, Internet, Arte y Compromiso, Centre Culturel Puertas de Castilla (Murcia).
* 19/06 2017 19h. Une pratique du texte numérique qui dévoile. Invitation Yan Rucar, Centre culturel international de Cerisy-la-Salle.
* 18-22/07 Performance Ours Lingages, ELO 2017, University Fernando Pessoa, Porto.

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