Theorizing Performance in Virtual Spaces – Goldsmiths, London, 25 June 2009


Goldsmiths, University of London
Ben Pimlott lecture theatre
7pm start

All welcome and free

Theorizing Performance in Virtual Spaces

The presentation will describe and analyze the theoretical issues for Performance Studies posed by new genres of performance in virtual environments, such as Second Life. We will also demonstrate the technological modifications to Second Life that our team has developed to facilitate a new form of mediated performance and outline the experiments that we have initiated to take advantage of this technology. Utilizing a panel discussion format involving live participants and avatars in Second Life, our presentation aims to shed light on the unique opportunities provided by virtual environments in formulating new approaches to theorizing contemporary performance practices. A fundamental premise of the discipline of Performance Studies is that theory is enlivened and most rigorously tested when it hits the ground in practice. We at Georgia Tech have a particular opportunity to test that premise, because our institution is a meeting ground for technological practice and critical reflection.

The Augmented Environments Lab (AEL) and the Wesley Center for New Media are in the process of developing technological modifications to Second Life that will facilitate a new form of mediated performance, one in which actors and audience share a performance space that is both physical and virtual. We are already planning performances that will take advantage of this technology: these performances will be a negotiation between professional improv artists in the city of Atlanta and technologists here at Georgia Tech.

Members of the team presenting are

Kathryn Farley, Prof. Jay Bolter, Professor Michael Nitsche and grad. student Jenifer Vandagriff.

Web site for the project: