one of the performances/demonstrations that were part of friday night SL showdown is the work of coreographer and media artist Johannes Birringer (please, see Alien Nation Company, and Interaktionslabor) who showed a fragment of his latest work “Ukiyo” (“movable world” a short description of the networked performance can be found here).
the work proved to be a particularly interesting reflection on how it can be possible to involve simultaneously people around the world connected long distance, as spectators in close proximity with the performers in a theatre or an exhibition space and as spectators of a show in Second life. how could they pay attention simultaneously to all events? how could all these different environments brought together ? how could technologies and real-life performers play the same role (have the same weight) or maintain the same consistency and quality of performance?
in a panel on Saturday morning Biringer expressed his many concerns about dealing with technologies and performance in general and network performances in particular and had a number of people, including Chris Chafe on his side, or expressing similar concerns.
for Chafe the problem partially resides in the different tasks of each instrument (or media) we are using. for instance, in music, traditional and rich instruments can sure be coupled with instruments that produce sounds through a loud speaker: it is difficult to incorporate the two: “do you tone down the instrument or you hump up the electronics?” IN the end the problem resides in the fact that each of them has its own features and putting them side by side might create issues of compatibility.
on the other hand, the type of performance and the gestures the spectator observes while attending a concert delivered through a saxophone or a trumpet is definitely different from one that is entirely performed standing in front of a laptop.how to place them side by side, or in a networked performance without one overpowering the other?