net art, video, performance

Annie Abrahams

The Laboratory of Networked Behavior

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After my Networked Conversations interview with Randall Packer on the 13th of Mai, Randall wrote an interesting article called The Laboratory of Networked Behavior.

“Only through questioning, probing, getting dirty, and embracing the messiness of online behavior, can we even come close to any kind of understanding of what lies ahead of us in our mediated lives. That is why the work of Annie Abrahams, along with the other intrepid artist-investigators of the Net, is so crucial to our survival amidst the encroachment of the telematic embrace.”

And here is the recording of the interview : performance as reality – performance is reality.

And a preparation for the talk .pdf (very elaborate overview of my online performance history – not complete though)

Filed under: Articles / Texts, Interview, networked performance, , , , , , , ,

Another precursor of The Big Kiss

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A few days ago Kit Galloway after his Networked Conversation with Randall Packer in the Third Space Network send Randall what might be the very first attempted transcontinental split-screen kiss – live via terrestrial microwave linked TV.

Jerry Lewis in Los Angeles and Celeste Holm in New York (She was an actress and the mother of Ted Nelson, the inventor of hypertext)  opened the 29th Academy Awards – the Oscars in 1957 with an “akward”, prude kiss.

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The other precursor was 17 years later in 1974 and was by Nam June Paik and Shirley Clarke. More about the discovery of this last version by the Videofreex here.

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

Networked Conversations

unnamedImage courtesy of the Third Space Network

After Videofreex and Kit Galloway and before Gene Youngblood I’ll be Randall Packer‘s third guest in the Networked Conversations series.

Saturday May 13th 6pm – 7pm Paris time. (Find your local time here.)

To participate you should go to the Third Space Network.
https://connect.ntu.edu.sg/thirdspacenetwork/
Select “Guest,” type your name, and “Enter Room.”

Networked Conversations is a series of live, online interviews and discussions hosted by Randall Packer. The series features media artists, curators, writers, and activists exploring a broad range of social, political and aesthetic topics at the intersection of net culture. Networked Conversations collapses geographical and cultural boundaries via participatory Internet chat: free & open & accessible from anywhere in the world.
For more information visit:
http://www.thirdspacenetwork.com/

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

An organic acceptance of silence?

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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.

Watching 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, , , , , , , , , , , ,

empathy and intimacy in networked performances

propinquity, cross-reality, tele-presence, synaesthesia, ideasthesia

After reading Frans de Waal’s book on The Bonobo and the Athesist, I wondered if it would help me to better understand what is happening in networked webcam performance thinking about it in terms of empathy. So I wrote a status :

Would “empathy” be a word to describe what is needed (put at stake) in networked webcam performances?
The discussion this triggered made me realise a lot had happened since we organised the CyPosium in 2012. There seems to be a very lively bunch of people, with new approaches and ways of thinking, working in this field.

Participants :
Suzon FuksWaterwheel platform
Daniel Pinhero and Lisa Parra of LAND project
Helen Varley JamiesonUpstage platform
Ienke Kastelein artist – performer
Martina Ruhsam performer – choreographer
Michael Baird musician
Roger Mills director of ethernet orchestra
Randall Packer of postREALITY.tv
Sara Malinarich from the Intact project
Jason Crouch of Contact Manchester
Jesse Ricke of CultureHub New York.

I screencaptured the whole thread and post it here as 12 .jpg’s. (interesting links to videos, discussions, academic approaches and practice)

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After the discussion we started a closed facebook group. If you are interested, please ask to join us, you are very welcome.

The propinquity effect is the tendency for people to form friendships or romantic relationships with those whom they encounter often, forming a bond between subject and friend. Feeling close in networked performance might depend on “the percieved feedback”.

The public can’t be an object/subject for empathy, there are too many different people inside it – empathic skills projected on a public easily become manipulative, become something else.

Physical distance between the persons performing and also between them and the persons watching does allow for intimacy in a very special way. Maybe the intimacy is even connected to a shared sense of awkwardness that the situation implies.

Empathy is a quality, a capacity of one person (as is intelligence, sensibility), not something between persons / it is the capacity “a receptiveness to the rhythms, energy, utterances of the other person” – it is a prerequisite for intimacy.

Rather than empathy it’s about a process of increasing synaesthesia.

What telepresents CAN NOT be present, but we cling stubbornly to this utopia. (Jorge Ruiz Abanades)

Maybe one day there will be another CyPosium …

Filed under: performance, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

precursor of The Big Kiss

In 2017

HalleckKiss

A The Big Kiss avant l’internet : A few days ago Randall Packer pointed me to what might be a precursor to my piece The Big Kiss from 2008. In his article Videofreex Chronicles #1: TV as Social Media he shows an image (by Deedee Halleck) of Explorations in the Videospace, Part I from 1974. It’s a splitscreen kiss performed by Nam June Paik and Shirley Clarke. The technical design is by David Cort of the Videofreex.

I am surprised and wondering if I would have been able to make The Big Kiss if I had know about it. Would it have been appropriation? And would I have been bothered by copyrights? Now, I know about it, I want to see these videos / TV images – do they still exist? Where to look for them?

I also found this one on pinterest posted by Rachel McBrinn. I wrote her and she answered that she pinned the image from teepeevideospacetroupe.org, which is now not a registered domain and didn’t know anything about the image.Nam June Paik Shirley Clarke Kissing - David Cort installation.

Andrew Ingall, the curator of Videofreex: The Art of Guerrilla Television at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, SUNY New Paltz reacted in a twit to my call for more info : @annieabrahams @ShirleyClarke Not aware of video documentation of Cort’s exhibition at The Kitchen. Read more here: amzn.to/1I9citt.

And so I googled “David Cort The Kitchen” and found another same image with a Greek text that google translated : “In this Polaroid, the Nam June Paik and Shirley Clarke trying to kiss in an installation created by David Cort (the Kitchen, 1974). See. Pleasure Palace Theater of the Future.” So I have to look for an installation in an exhibition in 1974.

A few days later again I found the same image on a blogpost by DeeDee Halleck, and it turns out she was indeed the one who made the photo.

When looking further into Shirley Clarke’s video practice (Shirley Clarke – Is this reality?) I found that teepeevideospacetroupe.org was an archival website on her workshops made by Beth Capper. When I wrote Beth, she told me she couldn’t help, but that I should ask Andrew Gurian, a member of the videospace troupe, who gave her a scan of the photo.

So I wrote Andrew Gurian. He told me he owns what he thinks is the original Polaroïd, made by David Cort himself.
At David’s show–really more an on-going installation–the live video images of two people, sitting on opposite sides of the room, were combined into one by a special effects generator or similar device, as you can see in the photo. If I recall correctly, David was present and had a Polaroid camera. He snapped photos of any of the show participants who wanted one as a souvenir. I believe the photo is question is one such example.
David Cort is very ill and cannot be joined, maybe, maybe Tom Colley of the Video Data Bank, in Chicago may have more information; the Video Data Bank now has the archives of the Videofreex. Continues …

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In 2017 Kit Galloway pointed me to other precursors. Here is the timeline / the kisstory that resulted from that.

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

Performance is Reality

12 11 2012 6pm Global Concept Exchange – Collaboration & Community.
Invitation Randall Packer, CallArts Open Source Studio.
Guest speakers: Marc Garrett, and Ruth Catlow, Furtherfield.org, with Annie Abrahams, Helen Varley Jamieson, Nathaniel Stern, Andy Deck.

Performance is Reality.
“If there was any doubt about intimacy in the telematic embrace, you just need to experience it for yourself. As Annie Abrahams pointed out – who led us in a telematic happening last Friday – it’s not really a theoretical question, it’s experiential. The simplicity of her thesis is staggering. You can question, analyze, and research this problem until the cows come home, but put twenty people in front of a webcam via video-conference, and well, the proof is in the pudding. All that was required to complete the moment was to be there, even though “being there” in the virtual space poses yet another theoretical can of worms.” Randall Packer in Up close and personal with Furtherfield.

Filed under: Event, , , ,

Upcoming

* 12/10 18h Qu’est-ce et pourquoi agency art ? conférence, festival Mèq, hTh, Montpellier.
* 28/10 L’entrelangue à trois, Espace o25rjj, Loupian.
* 2-5/11 Distant Feeling(s) #4, Mobile Utopia conference, Lancaster University.
* 4-9/12 Qu(o)i <=> agence <=> Quand Résidence Labo NRV Subsistances Lyon.

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Annie Abrahams
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