net art, video, performance

Annie Abrahams

VR – performance – residency.

Wh(o/at) arranges When. / Qu(o)i agence Quand.

I had the lucky occasion to discover VR during a residency December 4-9 2017 and January 30 – February 10 2018 in the Labo NRV, invited by Les Subsistances, Lyon.

combi2More images on flickr.
Information en français.

I had never used a VR headset and so in the first week Olivier Bienz, a student, showed and brought me into different universes as The Lab (Steam), Google Earth, VRchat, Tilt Brush as well as some he or his fellow students made himself. He also showed me Unity 3D, a game development platform, used to create VR worlds and thus we created my first VR landscape together. At the same time Célia Bonnet-Ligeon, the lab’s coordinator organised meetings for me with local organisations like UrbanLab (ERASME), Eydolon and Nucléus, who all generously showed me their expertise.
I also met the researchers of the laboNRV and students of ENSBA Lyon. We talked, tested the VR headset while carrying the wearer, putting her upside down. It was and hilarious, and energizing and inspiring for all of us and so I decided to continue to work with them.
I was impressed by how simple it was to create an illusion of a landscape in the headset by using Unity’s basic terrain and drawing tools and how that influenced my imagination. I remembered David Markson’s book Wittgenstein’s Mistress and started to write some text that I could use in between the short modules (4 – 5) of what should become a collective performance, developed in the last week of the residency.

Video trailer by Guillaume Seyller. 6.58 min.

Performance by Annie Abrahams with Valentin Godard, Guillaume Seyller, Johanne Mortgat, Keywa Henri, Arthur Jamon, Laetitia Dangelade et Elisa Baron.

Protocol .pdf + notes and text. (in French)

This is what I formulated as a starting point for my artistic research in Oct. 2017 :
Where are we in VR space? In what is called Third Space? or in a liminal space? and is it important to know where we are?
Is the “I” still important in there, and how do we meet an other? What other ? How far are we giving up control? How far do we dissolve, get lost? Who arranges what? And what relationship to our body can we have, do we have?
Could a VR experience become like an intractive entanglement training?

It is, I answer now, as long as you search for what it is build of, how it is experienced inside as well as outside, together and with others.


Filed under: Event, Performance, Virtual Reality, , , , , , ,

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)


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

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 »

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


* April, Residency Lingagens in Künstlerhaus Villa Waldberta, Feldafing, Germany.
Magdalena München, 21/4 19h30 unaussprechbarlich, theater  Hoch X, München, 25/4 19h30, Meta Theater, Moosach.

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Annie Abrahams
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