Crossing Over: International Practice-based Research and Tele/Digital Performance



  • Crossing Over: International Practice-based Research and Tele/Digital Performance



  • Crossing Over, a web-based, pedagogical project between students in Canada and Turkey, represents the starting point for a larger set of research questions around the notion of cosmopolitanism, the care we owe to strangers and the ethics of social interaction facilitated by the World Wide Web. This is accomplished over a three-day intensive workshop during which time international networks are activated between teams of students, and background narratives, video performances, and suitcases – are exchanged via the Crossing Over website. The framework for the workshop is ISEA2011 and Istanbul, itself a gateway city or crossing over point between east and west, a cultural and creative nexus between diverse people and practices in art, philosophy, science and technology. The question that the project asks, regarding our consideration of and responsibility for others, is critical in light of global mobility, the building, breaking down and blurring of borders and the instantaneous exchange of information that digital crossing over points (the Internet) enable. During the workshop, these ideas are explored using readings from Kwame Anthony Appiah’s Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers (2006). Oseloka Obaze writes in his book review that Appiah’s thesis:
    “…is predicated on the principles of the existence of different people bound by a simple nexus of common values and humanity… Appiah essentially argues that even in our unquestionably variegated world of clashing ideas and norms, there is a great verisimilitude that transcends imaginary or real boundaries that we seem more inclined to prefer and promote. He postulates that the ethos of differentiating societies notwithstanding, there are more binding similarities in a united world. The prime thrust of his argument is that many people of cosmopolitan temperament are not necessarily from the elite spectrum of their societies or for that matter, of the world. He is of the view that in a world full of strangers, Cosmopolitanism is a universal trait of humankind”.
    A creative collaboration between students in the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Regina, Canada and Sabanci University, Istanbul, Turkey, Crossing Over concentrates on processes, theories and paradigms for innovative practice-based research that crosses distance, time, language and disciplines. It provides a framework for collaboration that engages students in a creative exchange of identities within a post-colonial context. This project develops out of a teaching methodology that combines studio practice and theoretical investigation and understands that such interconnectivities encourage students to think broadly and deeply and explore the range of possibilities that exists where one or more disciplines and cultures intersect or collide. In the absence of avatars and mythic scenarios, as an interactive web-based activity, Crossing Over operates more as an international parlor game, played out in real time and at street level. The rules of engagement asks players to perform identities and respond in kind to their international team mates. In so doing, participants blur the distinction between performance and social networking. Players are asked to question the representational armature of narrative and character that conventional performance operates within and to see digital performance as a fluid, and evolving field – an intertextually coordinated, multiply located discursive field of operation.


  • storyless from gizem acarla on Vimeo.

  • Video shot and edited in 1 day for the workshop “Crossing Over” by Gizem Acarla, as a part of ISEA2011.