net art, video, performance

Annie Abrahams

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, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Upcoming

* 18/06 2017 11h. Talk Networked performance art and engagement - What is and Why Agency Art? Internet, Arte y Compromiso, Centre Culturel Puertas de Castilla (Murcia).
* 19/06 2017 20h30. Une pratique du texte numérique qui dévoile. Invitation Yan Rucar, Centre culturel international de Cerisy-la-Salle.
* 21/07 10PM Performance Ours Lingages, ELO 2017, Mosteiro de São Bento da Vitória, Porto.

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