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6.4 ART, Arts, Art history
The live, embodied, material, and interactive qualities of performance have made it a notable means of exploring the creative potential of technological engagement, acting as a critical vector for revealing and resisting the technological colonisation of everyday life. The innovative collaborations of Experiments in Art and Technology (EAT) during the 1960’s with artists such as Yvonne Rainer and Robert Rauschenberg, Stelarc’s extreme body modifications, Dumb Type’s intermedia performance, and Guillermo Gomez-Pena and La Pocha Nostra’s poetic and speculative imaginings, have mapped the advances in technology and opened new creative fields to explore embodiment. However, there are still some significant oversights in regard to the pervasive and intimate nature of technological mediation, surveillance, and behavioural modification. Currently, technological embodiment assumes new forms tied to data assemblages of unprecedented scope and granularity. The body is commodified as data to be exchanged, controlled, and influenced in algorithmic regimes of governance and as raw material for machine learning and AI. Artists working with performance and technology are engaging with these exclusions, rethinking the intersection of performance and technology, and re-defining embodiment for the twenty-first century. The following articles start to fill these gaps in the literature on art, technology and embodiment through the lens of performance. While much remains to be written on the topic to account for current artistic practice and the changing nature of digital platforms and ubiquity of algorithmic governance, these articles point to new ways of thinking on issues around the intersections of flesh and circuits.
McGarrigle, C. & Putnam, E.L. (2021) Flesh and Circuit: Rethinking Performance and Technology, in affiliated issue with 2020 College Art Association Annual Conference, International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media, 17:2, 189-195, DOI: 10.1080/14794713.2021.1948237