Digital Disruptions: Bugs and glitches in live performance

Date: Friday 3 April 2020

CfP: TaPRA Performance and New Technologies Working Group Interim Event – Friday 3rd April 2020 Digital Disruptions: Bugs and glitches in live performance Hosted and supported by New Adelphi Theatre: and the Arts, Media and Communication Research Centre at the University of Salford Keynote: Matt Adams, Blast Theory: Performance and event coverage by The Ladies of the Press: What happens when we apply an aesthetic or disturbance of the digital space, such as a glitch or bug, to a live performance event? Paul and Levy outline the term ‘glitch’ as referring to ‘images and objects that have been tampered with’ or ‘corrupted’ and that this quality can be created ‘by using machines or digital tools in methods different from their normative modalities’ (2015, p.31). It is from this provocation that our interim event call arises – we are interested in curating a day of discussion and practice, where the notion of a glitch or bug in the system of a digital programme or machine is explored in relation to and through live performance practice. How might bugs or glitches – ‘ghosts in the machine that allow chance computational and electronic phenomena to appear and participate in the structure of the work’ (Causey 2016, p.454) – be provoked or applied to performance making? How can a ‘glitch aesthetic’, bringing to the centre the peripheral and ‘superficial flaws’ we experience in encounters with the digital (Betancourt 2017, p.7), be present in performance events? Might it, as Betancourt suggests, have the capacity to re-materialise, disrupt and disturb ‘the aura of the digital’ as ‘a self-productive domain, infinite, capable of creating value without expenditure’ (p.15)? What resistance can such practices offer to ‘surveillance capitalism’, operating ‘through the automated medium of an increasingly ubiquitous computational architecture of “smart” networked devices, things and spaces?’ (Zuboff 2019, p.8) We welcome proposals for papers, provocations, practice as research demonstrations and performances that respond to the call and may be aligned with the following areas:

  • Re-purposing or ‘non-normative’ uses of digital technologies in performance
  • Re-materialising the digital in live performance
  • Live failures of the digital in performance
  • Hacking digital/surveillance capitalism
  • Discordant and disruptive intersections of the computational and actual spaces
  • Embodied equivalents of digital failures, such as ‘glitches, bugs, application errors, system crashes, clipping, aliasing, distortion, quantization noise’ (Cascone in Betancourt 2017, p.5)
  • Clashes of bodies and computational technologies
This is a one-day event, with tea/coffee and lunch included and all participants must be TaPRA members. If you are not currently a member, you will be asked to join the organisation at the interim rate of £18 (waged) or £10 (postgraduate or unwaged) via before the date of the event. Please submit a 300 word abstract, outlining your proposed contribution to the day, alongside an indication of your technical requirements and set up needs, and a short biographical statement to the working group convenors, Christina Papagiannouli, Jo Scott and Piotr Woycicki at – the deadline for the submission of proposals is Friday 14th February. To support access to participation in this event, we have allocated funds for bursaries to cover travel and/or any other required access costs. SHOULD YOU WISH TO BE CONSIDERED FOR SUCH A BURSARY, PLEASE INCLUDE A STATEMENT (max 300 words) WITH YOUR PROPOSAL TO SUPPORT YOUR REQUEST. Your statement should address how you will benefit from attending the event, how a bursary will enable your participation, and should also include a breakdown of estimated costs for which you are requesting financial support (normally up to a maximum of £50). The Working Group Convenors will award bursaries based on:
  • the QUALITY of the applicant’s proposal,
  • the extent to which the applicant will BENEFIT from attending,
  • the financial NEED that might otherwise impede participation.
  Indicative Event Schedule: 10.00-11.00 – Registration, Coffee 11.00-11.15 – Welcome 11.15-12.30 – Keynote 12.30-13.30 – Lunch 13.30-15.00 – Session 1 15.00-15.30 – Break 15.30-17.00 – Session 2 17.00-18.00 – Plenary and wine reception

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