Ephemeral Technologies

Chalk

Bodies

Mobiles – calls, Snapchat?

What else? It’s like my media must be perishable, so where do these exist in mobility?

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Questions

What can the simultaneous experience of two apparently oppositional (irreconcilable?) media forms tell us about both/either/other?

What happens when mobility becomes truly ubiquitous? What happens when theatre goes mobile?

How far do traditions of etiquette extend (and what is the fallout when they are forcefully renegotiated)?

Is theatre (a) social media?

Where are the boundaries between theatre, performance and mobile media?

More to come!

Oops..

I did it again. Wrote this cracking post last night and deleted the fucker.

The gist was about how I have two kinds of work (group and solo) and how my overall performance arc doesn’t quite fit the mould of practice as research.

Work:

1) staged

2) solo

1 is group created but received more individually.

2 is solo created but received as a group.

I went on to talk about Media Ecologists and something to do with attack, sustain and decay. Something about us being in sustain phase and wanting to keep it there even though decay is clearly on the way. Something about media always being like this, but maybe theatre not so much.

I also was talking about absence in a present setting, and how theatre can exacerbate these feelings (TMWYRT). Also about why I might think this is what people feel, that may not be the case – individual affect varies. Perhaps the show might make people go straight to their mobiles for a quick comfort fix, or possibly prompt them to stay away from devices and just contemplate.

There was more about moments and archives, how digital favours retrieval over immediate and ephemeral, and also how tangibly writing something on a tangible thing commits the idea to memory better, perhaps because the thing might be lost or damaged beyond repair so the brain need be more engaged in the process, or the bodily sensation prompts more holistic engagement. Something about one offs vs repeatability and the difference in recall, which is funny consisting I deleted the post accidentally whereas of I’d written it down this would never have happened.

I also had stuff down about the how of my practice being less important than the results, like no one cares if I get my best ideas from stress and sleep deprivation and that I work stupid hours, because what I make from that comes in a much more palatable and shareable form. That my work style and schedule is horrific, but the result is beautiful and provocative and I just want people to share it in their own way. That I hate “recognition” and “networking”, except insofar as that they generate interesting dialogue. That I’m the most introverted extrovert around.

There was also the idea of sensory prioritisation, and how in a visually dominated world we have so many sight-related issues. Is it a product of the world, or a genetic mutation that has other benefits which have been masked by spectacles? Like, the theory is that blind people have keener remaining senses; what then of people with poor sight? Is everything else slightly heightened?

There was so much more and it was written so much better, but I have no paper and I’m scrambling through my memory so it’ll have to remain a dump at this point.

Oops indeed..

Trouble

Firstly, I just erased a post I was working on about my working method (which had a lot to do with the word “back”, but luckily I kind of know where I am with that anyway so I’ll skip it for now).

Bummer.

Main thing here is that because I stalk a few email lists I just saw a potential conference in November that my gut tells me to submit something for.

“What’s wrong with that?” you ask. Well, aside from 3/4 of the birthdays within my family, its also Confirmation time, plus it costs money I don’t have. Plus I can’t access conference grants until I’m confirmed AND I have a lot of work in the following month that needs preparation in November.

But it feels right, and I’m loathe to argue with my gut, which itself is having a little trouble these days.

Trouble indeed…

Mooning About..

So 4×2 might actually be (4×2)+n, where n=the number of non-working days in between. As in today I did stuff-all.

I don’t feel particularly bad about it except for that lingering feeling that comes about when something weighs on your mind because its incomplete.

Which means I don’t feel great, because I hate that feeling. The problem is, I’ve come to realise, that this is part and parcel of process. According to my new favourite psuedo-academic writer/media ecologist – Douglass Rushkoff – is that this pattern is totally natural and may even be linked to lunar cycles.

That surprises me very little. My entire close family is heavily influenced by lunar activity. None of us sleep around full-moon time, but I haven’t really looked at what happens during the rest of the month. I’ve a sneaking suspicion the shoe will fit.

I also have a habit of doing a bunch of work and taking a break before I actually finish it off. This pattern appears both in a single session and across larger blocks. For instance, I might write a chunk, start the next bit, hit a really cool idea or sentence and immediately get up and go for a walk or a coffee. While I’m doing that I kind of tease out what might come next until I find another linking idea or passage and sit back down to start from there.

I’m thinking that this day off is the larger version, and I read a blog from some likely very clever girl about taking a few days between draft and edit. I already started on the edit and that’s why I’ve gone into hibernation. A day or two in lieu will hopefully charge my batteries for another session, with the fore knowledge that I’ve already started so I just need to knock it over.

My current working situation doesn’t exactly help either. I work long hospitality hours overall, but the rostering is totally unbalanced, which means I might be doing nights, possibly days or any combination of the above. Frequently, my working life does not line up with my academic one, which can either be totally frustrating or unexpectedly fruitful.

Once I’ve hammered out my current issues – conference paper, final presentation for my only class and grasping the bones of my new job at the Uni – I think I’ll pay closer attention to the moon and what I’m about to see if they line up, which neatly coincides with the end of the World Cup. If I fluke the grant I applied for, I mightn’t have to worry about it too much, which will conversely give me more time to look into it.

This is all so weird. I’m finally coming to terms with academia-as-work, but that makes me super-aware of my not-quite-there position. And how do I deal with this changing landscape?

I spend my spare time mooning about..

4×2

I’m writing a paper for a conference. Its based almost exclusively on my Honours research, but while I was writing I came up with this really neat idea I hadn’t thought of.

I figured that the fourth wall was pretty much dead beyond a stable setting, but when two people are, let’s say, having coffee – and one gets a mobile interruption – BAM! Fourth wall.

The person on the phone is all “Sorry mate – I just have to take this call.” and in a heartbeat it becomes a fourth wall setting. One guy is one the phone doing his thing and the other guy is left there without any real capacity to do anything about it (if he adheres to general manners), mute, voyeuristic.

So simple. So overlooked by me previously, maybe because I was more focussed on the grand new media scheme and less on just plain mobile media, or maybe for a whole other series of reasons.

Anyhow, as sweet as that little titbit is, the post was actually supposed to be about doubling the expected time it takes to write anything – especially if most of it already exists in some way.

I’d put aside four days to write this paper, but truthfully it will take twice that long. I’m doing it now so that I’ll have a few weeks to not stress about it – which means I’ll have some time to work on my actual PhD before I take off and also be off the hook when (if?) the chair of my panel asks for my material prior to presentation – and prepare it in case of epic technical mishap.

But, yeah, eight days is more like it. I figure that isn’t too bad since I’m new to this and my Supervisors are absent and AWOL respectively.

But its also pretty neat that this post doubles as a secondary investigation on the fourth wall.

(4×2)2 really…

Shanghai-jacked

First it was the presentation (of which I still need to submit the final copy).

Now it’s this conference.

There is always something taking up time and drawing my attention away.

So I booked my flights and my accomodation. I have four days off in a row which means I can write the paper I’ll deliver. Following this, I’ll have a meeting with one of my Supervisors, a meeting with the lady who’s job I’ll be taking over, and notice from the Ethics Board and the State Library.

Ideally, all of this will occur in the next fortnight, leaving at least half of this month with which to actually study for my PhD.

I think that seems to be the key. Provided I can leave two weeks out of every four to work, that should be enough time to get things done.

But for now, off to learn a few basic phrases in Manadarin!

Snakes and Ladders

Or lines and holes. A great guy – Dr John Postill – once described good research as one of the two. Draw a new line between two apparently unrelated things, or fill a hole.

My honours was a line, and my PhD looks like a hole. Honours traced a path between theatre and new media by treating both in terms of screens, or interfaces. The PhD is looking at a glaring gap in practice and literature – mobiles in theatre.

I go with snakes for the former because its such a winding road. Sure there is a head and a tail, but the path traverses so much ground its easy to get distracted.

The other side is a ladder, because once you’ve found the hole (most likely by falling in) you need to climb out – one rung at a time. The idea is to get back to the playing board, and of you can do that, the research is a success.

The problem for the ladders is that each rung has a fucking snake on it. The deeper the hole, the more snakes, and its dark as pitch most of the way which means the snakes are all the more insidious.

The ladder breeds snakes. This isn’t a bad thing, just something you need to be aware of. The snakes must be acknowledged, they just don’t need to become the focus. Eyes on the light at the top of the ladder.

But don’t ignore the snakes or you’ll get bitten. The snakes can provide welcome distractions (i.e. conference papers, journal articles, ideas for later research or – if its an anaconda – a more appropriate direction) but remember the ladder.

If you get stuck on the board in one of the safe spaces, you’re doing it wrong. Simple as that.

Just remember, if the game is a serious one, both snakes and ladders kill. Snakes are painful and slow, but once you’re bitten you know you’re dead. The ladders can fool you. Maybe you’ll lie on the ground with a busted leg in the hope you’ll be saved. The truth is no one can hear you, nobody is coming.

But if you can climb out into the light, the ladder – and the snakes – are nothing. Stay strong and keep climbing.

And roll the dice.

Tell Me

I had this idea a while ago about a trinity of theatrical works. The first one was trialed and went quite well. It wasn’t the whole thing, but enough to show that the formula was there.

The second work was to be called “Tell Me What You Really Think”, and I was going to use performers’ Facebook conversations as the basis for the work – along with a projector and cyclorama to get the info up for everyone else to see.

However, after coming up with the “(in) Name Only” idea, I figure that can be the feed in instead, and I can layer the rest over the top. Again, with the NIN blaring (well, the soft stuff at high volume) I found further inspiration. Having spent most of my morning editing a 200 word abstract into half of that (gruelling), I hit a song. Nobody was home so I sang aloud to myself and promptly began to cry.

Now I only cry when it is exactly the thing that needs to happen, which for me is incredibly rare. So I jumped on the laptop and started writing about the version of “Tell Me” I was seeing through the tears. It was WAY more powerful than the initial iteration. I’ll pop the free-written script up later, but suffice to say it needs doing.

The best bits (for me) are both artistic and practical. Practically speaking, I get to work with/assemble a troupe that can do much of my later stuff and together we can create a way of working. This in itself needs more unpacking, but is very noteworthy.

Artistically, I get to combine an older idea (series theatre) with a new understanding (proper one off experience), all the while staying within the parameters of theatre while moving towards a different form of performance, one that will grow out of this experiment.

Its like I’ve started to actually hit my stride. I thought I hated theatre, but the drive that hate gives has led me instead to two more powerful emotions – love, and fear. Hate can be directed, but both love and fear make complete fools of us, to the point of incapacitation. I’ve been afraid of Theatre’s demise so much so that I’ve avoided the stage since my bachelor’s degree, but the truth is that if I have something of value to bring to something I actually love, both the hate and the fear dissipate into nothing. I love reading about stuff to get a better idea of where I might contribute, but without sharing that love it just becomes self-love, love of my own cleverness, arrogance, and that isn’t love anymore.

So this series of projects at once gives me a really pretty piece of paper and allows me to share the making of that with a whole host of others. And that is what I’ve been missing for so long.

You see, what scares me the most in one word. ALONE. So I guess it isn’t much of a surprise to find out that I study theatre and media/comm – because somewhere between these two spheres lies the secret of abolishing loneliness.

I think it might be in the simplicity of an anagram – file and life. Its so easy to share the former, but the latter is a different ballgame. My initial mini-project is so simple, because while it touches the life, it does so in file form. The next work is about putting hearts on plates and hoping, praying someone will identify or respond.

So the question becomes the title. I’ll tell you my deepest and darkest. I’ll show you. I’ll share with you. But will you respond?

Tell Me.

To Be Or Not To Be

On the surface, I chose Hamlet as my vessel because its short, everyone knows it as synonymous with theatre and it has enough people/characters to make a decent mess.

It wasn’t until later I realised the infamous quote was there. My whole deal is about what is theatre/performance/mobile/new media and where do the boundaries lie? How fitting then is this?!?!!!

More to come.