Experimental composer, performer, sound artist and instrument builder, Viola Yip, was recently interviewed by Maggie kane about her upcoming class, Telematic Together. Viola's work has been focusing on developing hardware and software instruments and performances that explore audiovisuality, materiality, performativity, relationality, affect as well as the human-machine relationships between the digital and the analog worlds. Telematic Together is an interactive class that will teach about the creation of artistically expressive telematic performances during times of social distance and solitude.
How do audiences experience telematic performances? In person, on the web, or a bit of both?
That's a very good question. Telematic technology is not new, yet I've seen artists engage with it very differently before and after the beginning of pandemic lockdowns. In pre-COVID time, telematic performances were often performed on stage-- audiences are in the same space as artists perform-- while some of the other artists are performing on the big screen on stage via the internet. Since the beginning of the lockdowns, I've started to see telematic performances are forced to take on a new path as people are not allowed to share a common space physically. For this reason, the most recent performances that I have seen are all created for people to view via the internet, in front of their own personal screen. Witnessing this one impact of COVID (out of many) on our creative approach, I see that there are so many in-between possibilities for artists to use as compositional, design and curatorial components and that's why I wanted to talk about them in class!
What's your favorite telematic performance piece made by an artist or collective in the past?
Haha! There are quite a number of them! People have been very creative with telematic technology! I guess the one piece that stuck with me and got me interested in this artistic approach in the first place is Atau Tanaka's Global String from 2000. Quoted from his words, it is a multi-site network music installation. He basically built two 15-meter long strings in two separate sites; one string per site. Then he connected the two physical strings virtually via the internet and turned the two strings from two different sites into one instrument. Each string was being played by one performer at each site for the performance and the internet became the resonating body of the instrument. I really like this work using a combination of various artistic approaches with telematic technology, performance, coding and installation. Furthermore, he incorporated the internet as a specific medium that works as the resonating body, which creates a series of intriguing relationships between the digital and the analog. I found it brilliant!
Do telematic performances require humans to perform them?
I love this question! One of my main interests in creating telematic performances is to explore all the possibilities between our human-machine relationships when we engage with the technology. In my class, I will show some examples of how some artists have performed with robots on the other side of the internet, and some examples of artists performing together telematically and how they have manipulated each other's voices from separated spaces. The main goal of this class will be to allow students to create their own performances. I look forward to seeing how much students can push in this regard! Crazy ideas are super welcomed! I will provide the technical support as much as I can or we will find a way to make it work together!
Telematic Together takes place 13. Feb - 10. April every second Saturday from 3 - 5pm CET. To reserve your spot visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/telematic-together-creative-expressions-in-collective-online-performance-tickets-133704033363
13 January 2021