net art, video, performance

Annie Abrahams

Meaningful connections – article Elena Perez

liminalities10-1 liminalities2-2

Liminalities issue 10.1 Special issue of the journal of performance studies, Liminalities, based on the outcomes of the Remote Encounters: Connecting Bodies, Collapsing Spaces and Temporal Ubiquity in Networked Performance conference in 2013.  Edited by Garrett Lynch (University of South Wales) and Rea Dennis (Deakin University).
Meaningful connections: exploring the uses of telematic technology in performance, Elena Perez compares On Love by Annie Abrahams FR, Denise Hardman UK, Ben Robinson UK, Tony Chapman UK, Derek Piotr USA, Hedva Eltanani UK, Martina Ruhsam SI, Antye Greie FI and Pascale Barret BE, and make-shift by Helen Varley Jamieson and Paula Crutchlow.
ON LOVE creates an intimate space where it is safe to be honest

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Elena Pérez is a researcher, theatre practitioner and experimental game designer. She is doing her PhD (2009-2014) in the department of Art and Media Studies at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), where she is looking at how digital media impacts contemporary performance, more specifically, how digital media challenge theatrical conventions in multimedia theatre, telematic and pervasive performance.


Telematic or networked performance is an art form that emerged in the 1980s that applies telecommunication technology to performance. Today, there are typically two versions: high-tech and low-tech. Hi-tech telematic performance has been criticised for focusing on developing the technical and dismissing the aesthetic, by merely displaying the telematic connection in a theatrical manner. In this article, we will look at performance works that go beyond the mere technological display of the connection and examine what the technology is being used for in aesthetic terms.

We will conduct a comparative analysis of two low-tech telematic performances that represent two large trends of practices within the field. On the one hand, the performance ON LOVE (2013) by Dutch visual artist Annie Abrahams uses telematics to create visual and dramaturgical juxtapositions. On the other hand, the performance make-shift (2012) by British theatre directors Helen Varley Jamieson and Paula Crutchlow uses telematics to engage remote audiences into active participation and collaboration. Through the analysis, we will be able to identify the purpose behind the technology while bringing forward the artistic strategies that are being used and this will help us develop an aesthetics of telematic performance.

ON LOVE shows how interesting and also problematic it is to try to have a con- versation with this technology, while make-shift gives us a taste of the possibilities of the genre for meaningful collaboration and yet it also shows how hard it actually is to make happen. We learn of all the technological configuration and its complex- ity in setting up what we have to go through in order to connect to each other in a meaningful way. In this sense, our everyday routines are displayed in front of us, making explicit how much dedication technology, which was supposed to make our lives easier, actually requires.

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Annie Abrahams
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