Re: discussions/plans

Johannes H. Birringer (
Tue, 08 Apr 1997 21:35:58 -0500

Hello listmembers,

Dawn and Diane exhort us to be short, but then again if we are short or
cannot discuss issues we face in detail, then we may not need this list.

I appreciate the opportunity to read what people say very much, and wish to
also thank our listserve manager for executing all this.

I want to thank Amanda for her wonderful response the other day and for her
talking directly about/from rehearsal/production. My postings in the past
week came from the same process or place, and I don't see them as theory,
removed from our practice and experimentation, at all.

On the contrary, even if there are political questions or economic questions
raised (as in my posting on "social improvisation), they are immediately
connected to what we do and why we do it, and one can often gather quite
well, from what people are commenting on and telling (about their work), to
what extent questions of economics, equipment/technical contexts, funding,
distribution, and content of the work are linked to some of the ideas that
we surely need to consider (the post-human/postbiological surealism is one
case in point, and I have little patience with these transcendental
posturings, although they often seem intimate with the proponents of
cyberspace, cloning, and VR - so if there are good solid critical
discussions, as Scott implies, then we might need to take part in them too,
since our practice as artists/dancers otherwise, generally, tends to have
little effect on the market, on science and technology development, and
design, on people's lives).

I think Amanada's work, and what Richard speaks about, and Scott's
insistence on teaching, all of this helps me to keep thinking on the content
and contexts of work I am involved in producing, testing, sharing, and
seeking to have discussed by audiences and other artists. I am a little
worried taking our first public perormance version of "before night falls"
to an academic conference on technology/theory with panels on cybergenders,
but then again, I'd like to know what cybergenders are.[How does one fake
gender with CU-seeME?]

To end, then, I wish to strongly support the idea of a retreat or
experimental workshop that could bring many of us together for an intensive
10 days or two weeks, either to construct a performance lab, show
work-in-progress to one another/to others, or embark on a joint
collaborative experiment together.

I told Scott last week that once Imma and I are settled with our studio in
Houston (fall of 97), I would be excited to look into possibilities of
arranging such a retreat in Texas in 1ate 1998. Richard already suggested
Ohio, and Lisa offered a possible mirror site in Vancouver. It's likely that
Richard has the better facilities/studios in place at his university, and
I'd be happy to help Richard and support him.

On the other hand, if I may throw this up, I'd personally be more interested
in working in an independent site (outside of academia), connect to a larger
community (showing, distrubution), or create an event (International
Dance/Technology Workshop & Concert) out of it. I can find performance sites
etc in Houston, and we'd be in a large city that might (Cultural Arts
Council) support us financially, and help us to make the international link
ups (I am not thinking of NASA, but there's a huge scientific community in
Houston), as well as invite some folks from the science /engineering
community there. Primarily, though, I'd wish for a small group of 30 people
or so to have intensive time (and space) for work and for a social gathering
(sharetime). My proposal would be for a winter time (there is no winter in
Texas). But Richard, we could also start out in Ohio and plan Houston later
(1999), with a cross-event in Europe in-between, I am sure Amanda, Scott,
and others have ideas and the experience already in telematic / on ground


Scott, to take seriously a Boal workshop in the internet or telematically,
yes, it could of course be done, but doesn't it then invoke the issue of the
digitally connected (privileged zone) and the digital homeless (Negroponte,
via Amanda)? Can we imagine doing/teaching/arranging such a workshop with
broader participation of folks ("the public", or for specifically targeted
audiences of workers, youth, intercultural group, etc), as in a body
workshop or contact improvisation workshop, and have we thought of
constructing/designing such workshops for a public? Again, this question is
a pragmatic and a political one, if we are taking seriously the effort to
make walls porous and move outside of the narrow-cast arena (academic, net
users, artworld/digital artists).

What would a telematic community workshop look like? can our work in
interactivity be fruitfully linked to socio-cultural, urban projects with
youth, women, immigrants, cultural workers?
Have you heard of the "street-level video" collective in one of Chicago's
Latino barrios? Perhaps such collectivity is also important to pursue in
regard to Susan's concern about documentation and negotiation with
providers/professional tech studios.

I believe grants, partnerships, and fundings could be obtained if we are not
working in isolation or art (net) venues only, but in cooperation with high
schools, community centers, neighborhood theatres, urban art projects,
clubs, discotheques, community access televison and radio or broadcast
stations. Don't you agree?


Johannes Birringer
AlienNation Co.