My text Live Notation: Reflections on a Kairotic Practice, a response to my encounter with the work of the Live Notation Unit at Arnolfini Gallery on 27th July 2012, has been selected for development as part of a forthcoming issue of Performance Research Journal, issue Vol 18, No.5. 'On Writing and Digital Media' (eds.) Ric Allsopp and Jerome Fletcher.
Background to Performance Research issue Vol 18, No.5. 'On Writing and Digital Media', edited by Jerome Fletcher with Ric Allsopp
Although the emergent field of digital writing is rife with references to performance, they remain relatively untheorized. Certain theorists such as N. Katherine Hayles have insisted on the inherent performativity of digital text: ‘Less an object than an event, the digital text emerges as a dance between artificial and human intelligences, machine and natural languages as these evolve together through time’. But in the main, analysis or investigation of performance is restricted to the relationship between the text output (on the interface or projected into a performance space) and the live body either responding performatively to that text, or else generating text through performance. There has been little attempt to enfold an understanding of digital text performance within the wider context of the ‘turn to performance’ that has taken place among the humanities in recent decades. It is against this background of performance studies, ordinary language philosophy and speech act theory, the ethnography of ritual, the performance of self and gender, and performance writing, that this issue of Performance Research will interrogate how writing performs in digital media.
While not excluding the investigation of live performance and its relation to digital writing and texts, the issue seeks to broaden the scope of the inquiry to include: interactivity between digital language and the body; the performative gesture(s) of the hand and fingers (digital text) on the interface; the performativity of language itself on the screen; social performance or how digital texts ‘perform’ us; the performance of codes and scripting; machinic performance, i.e. what does the engineer mean by performance.
In other words, we will be looking at the different modes of performance as they are manifest across the whole digital environment (dispositif). In order to give a fuller account of this complex of performative modes, we will also be investigating how they interact and collaborate with each other.