Re: body electric festival

Richard Povall (
Wed, 30 Apr 1997 15:21:02 -0400

>We have also just witnessed the passing of the 'performance studies
>conference' in Atlanta with its stated focus on 'performance and
>technology'. Johannes Birringer and Richard Povall attended -- it would be
>great to see some short notes on the event from their perspectives. I am
>already aware that the event was very theory orientated, short on practice
>and support for the artists who came...

What is there to say about the Performance Studies Conference that hasn't
already been said? Suffice it to say that a) the decision to locate this
conference in one of the most expensive downtown hotels in Atlanta, and b)
the resultant sense of alienation in the sessions (try giving a session
involving practice at 8am in the morning to an audience of 2 in a space
designed to hold 1500 (I exaggerate not...)) and total lack of support for
performance events other than a poorly attended music performance one
evening in a large atrium-like space surrounded by closed shops and
offices, combined to create a disappointing and frustrating event. I
really shouldn't comment much further because I chose to attend the
conference only for around 24 hours - largely because of the outrageous
prices charged by the hotel, and partly because of other time pressures and
a general sense of feeling rather dissed as a practitioner. The event was
certainly very theory-oriented, very cliquey (more so than most conferences
of this ilk), and had far too many people dressed all in black trying
desperately to look cool in this most un-cool space and corporate
environment. Johannes mounted a performance of a new work on the Friday
night, held in a general purpose meeting room in the Goethe-Institut. A
potentially wonderful piece, I thought, but suffering far too much from the
many limitations and constraints of the space, and the somewhat strange
atmosphere at the conference.

Oh dear, now who have I just upset...?


R i c h a r d P o v a l l
Assoc. Prof of Computer Music and New Media
MPO Box 0332 TIMARA/Studio 5
Oberlin, OH 44074-0332 USA Oberlin Conservatory of Music
Voice: +1.216.775.1016 Oberlin College
Fax: +1.216.775.8942 Oberlin, OH 44074 USA
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