Was I supposed to feel like I was a part of that? strategies towards engaged, embodied audiences in participatory electronic artworks

Symposium:


Session Title:

  • Belfast Roundtable

Presentation Title:

  • Was I supposed to feel like I was a part of that? strategies towards engaged, embodied audiences in participatory electronic artworks

Presenter(s):



Abstract:

  • Roundtable Statement

    A diverse range of artists and performers are harnessing electronic media and experimenting with what happens when recorded and live presence are placed side by side in a performance. When successful, electronic media performances of this type can activate an embodied exchange between audience members and the work, and develop the capacity of audience members to derive our own meaning instead of waiting for the artist’s intended message to be communicated to us through

    a screen. Once the exchange gets transposed into a setting where there are not only images to communicate meaning, but also live bodies and a rich sonic landscape, the question arises of what exactly the ‘screen’ is, and what part of the body is involved in ‘gazing’ at the work? Or, from an even more embodied position: what part of the body isn’t involved in ‘gazing’? Whose body are we talking about anyway?

    Helena Schniewind will facilitate a round table discussion to consider how we, as electronic artists, have an opportunity to redefine our relationship with our audiences and open up what it means to be a participant in a work which involves electronic media. We will use our own practices as a launch point to deeply question whether contemporary ‘participatory’ works are actually open to a participatory audience and what shape that exchange might take. Who, or what, has been affected by the exchange? Was there really any exchange at all? Has the audience’s participation impacted the outcome of the piece in any way?

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