Does experimentation depend on access to technology?

Convener(s): Alex Eisenberg

Participants: Cob, Alex

Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations:

A starting point might be something like:

What if as theatre/performance makers/live artists we were able to get our hands on the sort of technology that created a film such as Avatar? How would this affect our ability to experiment?

That technological advances are not easily accessible (largely because of money) to experimental performance makers when perhaps it is precisely those people who might be able to expand, harness and reshape the use of these sorts of technologies in the most progressive and innovative ways. 

What are you going to do with this technology?

Open Source:

  • Free software
  • Free hardware
  • Open Source Movement
  • How is Open Source similar to Open Space?

Virtual communication devices such as Facebook mediate communication in profound and political ways. 

It seems that it could be easy to ignore this.

So perhaps what is needed is a “constant vigilance” – an attention towards the ways in which communication might or might not be impeded in virtual space. 

Things to look out for(!):

  • Barriers put in place by corporations to protect themselves
  • Motivation for the creation of ‘social spaces’
  • Deceptive appearances of ‘sophistication’ – i.e. facebook is actually a very very very simplified version of communication. Game: Compare an exchange in real space with one in virtual space – what are the differences?

Differences between virtual and physical space:

  • i.e. do not assume that there is a need to replicate what happens in physical space with what happens in virtual space.

“But – why should there be a difference?”

“Maybe because we have not got it ‘right’ in physical space and the POTENTIAL of virtual space could provide us with the most wonderful possibilities?! – maybe…”

[Is it too soon to be talking about these ideas?]

[How about just working with what you have got?] 

So – what about theatre – how does theatre fit into all of this? Because it is all (life?) about communication, about how we RELATE to one another. And it is clear that technology is having profound implication on this.

Consider the THEATRE as (THE) one of the best places to examine, interrogate and shape COMMUNICATION.

Consider the THEATRE as the place where humans go to watch (relate, feel, experience….) OTHER HUMANS.

In the ‘THEATRE’ the potential for discovery, experimentation in this space is immense. (NB: by theatre we don’t mean just theatre spaces!)

So as theatre/performance makers – as people who are in the (privileged) position of being able to construct social situations, encounters, behavior etc. we should be able to and perhaps have a responsibility to make performance based explorations that INTERFACE Communication and technology and quite often our access to technologies is restricted.

The importance of communication technologies – is it a HUMAN RIGHT?

POLITICS of technology – in terms of nations, wealth, class, race, gender, sexuality etc….


Attempt at definition:

What we mean by technology in this discussion is the current ‘cutting edge technology’. Some examples might be 3D television, holographic projection and all the other things that we don’t know about!

These examples in particular relate to theatre because of the three-dimensionality factor!

Is it impossible to make ‘experimental theatre/performance/live work’ without addressing ‘technology’ as a fundamental/deeply integrated part of it?

What do we mean when we are talking about technology?

Because clothes, floors, furniture ARE also technology – OR perhaps they WERE once and now they have been so habituated that we don’t notice that they are in fact still ‘technology’ (in terms of human evolution…).

Thinking about a point at which we experience the things that we call ‘technology’ now (computers, phones etc.) in the same way as we consider things that are seemingly ‘not technological’.

///////FUTURE (or now?)/////////