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Speculative Paper: Theater/ Dance and New Media and Information Technologies

By Scott deLahunta

Written and presented to the Working Groups on Dance and Drama, Research Group on Reorganisation of Professional Arts Education, Amsterdam, April 1998.

I have been asked to contribute this paper to the Working Groups on Dance and Drama on the relationship between the professional fields of theater and dance and 'new media' technologies.

['New media' is a broad catch-all term which, for the purposes of this paper, I see as loosely synonymous and interchangeable with the following: digital and computer technologies, emerging media, information and communication technologies (ICT), interactive multimedia, new technologies, etc.]

New versus Old Media

It is important to recognise the extent to which 'new media' is not 'new', but is a continuation of an ongoing process of cultural mediatization. Tracing today's technological developments back through the relatively recent 'heyday' periods of consumer devices such as the walkman and VCR, TV remote control, cable and satellite television, polaroid cameras, etc. can help provide a perspective from which to resist the seductions of the 'new media' marketplace. Each of these technologies helped contribute to a shift towards more individually controlled and customized media environments… something 'new media' is quite happy now to capitalize on and even take credit for. (1) Going even further back, the phenomenon of 'telepresence' and 'instantaneous remote communication' was initiated by the first telegraphic transmission in 1845, something easily forgotten as we respond to the excitement generated around email. These are just some examples of the ways in which the past can be connected with the present - and complicate this tendency towards a separation between 'old' and 'new'.

However, this is not to suggest that one should reduce what 'new media' means into an assemblage of historical trajectories, the beginnings, middles and ends of which are somehow recognisable so that the rapidity of change can be understood and the future predicted. On the contrary, radical new forms of culture and society are emerging under the heading of 'new media'. This is partly technology driven: the speed with which digital computer and communications technologies are developing and becoming ubiquitous is unprecedented. In technological terms, 'old' usually refers to analog and 'new' to digital technologies. There is a clear difference between the two which I will not go into for the purposes of this paper. Suffice it to say: Our tools shape us as we shape them. (2) The internet is not simply a faster, more convenient and flexible way of transmitting information - a 'better' telephone. It also contributes to a transformation in the way we understand, imagine and interact with the world. Plenty of studies show that word processing has changed the ways in which we read and write. The impact of developments in digital tools are reflected in the increasing redundancy of such questions as "What is knowledge in the 'information age'?" and "What are national borders in a 'networked global society'?", and indeed these concepts are being newly defined.

Signs such as these indicate that technological developments are currently playing a very large role in the ongoing process of cultural transformation. However, technology doesn't make this change happen by itself. We do, after all, shape the tools. Social change is an inevitable and necessary part of the transformative process, and society may not change in the direction the technology seems to suggest. 'New Media' pundits and futurists can tend, sometimes, to predict a future technologized world which is more fantasy than reality. I will return to this point later. What I have tried to indicate with these opening paragraphs is that while it is important to recognise that change of some sort is taking place (big changes coming in economics, education and medicine), there is also room for some 'down to earth' speculation. This is what I will try to provide in the following sections.

Assimilation, Social Critique and Relevance

There are different ways to view the impact of media technology on live performance forms. One could consider the more or less direct application and implementation of new media and information technologies in live performance by looking at ways in which artists are exploring telematic performance spaces, computerized scenographic and lighting design, computerized choreography and performer controlled stage environments, holographic actors/ dancers, etc. This has been covered in related essays and articles I and others have written, some of which are available on-line (see Appendix [Part A]). For the purposes of this paper, I will articulate two other perspectives.

Firstly, evaluations of the impact of media technologies on theater and dance should take into account the degree to which they have already been assimilated into the performing arts. In Western society in particular, media technologies have had a hand in significantly altering the communication environment within which artist/ performer and audience interact. In particular, photography, television, video and film have played key roles in the evolution of how we perceive ourselves and these selves in relation to others (society). For the performance maker, theater director or choreographer, the impact of these technologies on society bleed over into how performances are constructed. We see it in the use of montage in the Tanztheater of Pina Bausch, in the visual scale of Robert Wilson's 'theater of images', in Robert Lepage's multi-layered and non-linear narratives, the Wooster Group's deconstruction/ adaptations of texts and William Forsythe's deconstruction/ adaptations of classical ballet, and in the work of Hans van Manen who has explicitly explored the formalistic relationship of projected and live image on stage (e.g. in his 1979 piece Live).

Secondly, one could consider the ways in which media is being represented in live performance. This brings up the issue of where and when performance functions as a form of social critique of technology, or of 'the machine'. The utopian vision for the future of mankind and technology which existed at the turn of the century was put out of commission by the two world wars. Both during and since that time, art movements and forms of dance and theater have served a crucial function as one of the places from which to critique the relationship between the individual and the machine, society and technology. Today, artistic practice which questions, considers, problematizes and reflects upon the impact of technology… is as necessary as ever before. By the very nature of their untechnological 'liveness', dance and theater forms enjoy a particular place in the arts which should be valued, 'protected' and supported. Also, living bodies and their direct representations still function as primary political repositories of dominating power in the world, and, as in the past, live performance can make a destabilizing contribution where this power is particularly oppressive (as in former Eastern Europe). However, this does NOT mean that all live performance needs to be explicitly political to be 'relevant'… and a wary eye should be cast upon any dominant cultural institution which claims to protect/ support a politically important theater.

One way to be relevant, whether politically, artistically or otherwise, is to respond to the fact that audiences' receptive capabilities are evolving as quickly or even faster than theater and dance. One of the most frequent excuses given for diminishing audience turnout and closing of venues is that theater and/ or dance is quite literally 'boring'. An acclaimed contemporary theater director who, by all accounts, is definitely not boring is Robert Lepage from Quebec. In an interview, Lepage addresses this issue by stating that today's audience consists of "gymnastic" thinkers - able to process and make sense of complex imagery, non-linear and overlapping narratives, multiple characters played by one actor, etc. Lepage talks about "using people's evolving intelligence" when telling stories in the theater. He says "people are extremely up-to-date, even if they are not educated or well cultured. They have a very modern way of connecting things". (…) if you don't use that … of course they're bored". (3)

As the younger generation is raised surfing the internet (reports indicate that in the USA some 25% or more of what was formerly 'passive' TV viewing time is spent on the internet) and playing interactive video games - it is even more incumbent upon the forms of live performance to re-invent themselves in response to this. On the other hand, in the next section… I suggest that there might be a parallel development which will assist in the survival and regeneration of audience interest in live performance.

Survival of Forms

As I stated earlier, society may not change in the direction the technology seems to suggest. In this section, I propose that society may be resisting certain technological possibilities with subsequent positive ramifications for live performance forms.

One might ask, in the age of new media and information technologies will theater and dance become extinct, die out? With so many other attention grasping options for people, web surfing, cd-rom game playing, interactive cinema, 100s of digital television channels, etc. what need and what time will there be for people to go to see theater and dance. With so many possibilities for digitizing, mediatizing and electronicizing the human performer - and placing him or her in a virtual three-dimensional simulated performance space… how long will we continue to follow the 'ritual' of dressing up and going out to attend the spectacle of live performance. In a short paper titled "The Theater and its Future in a Brave New World" (online at http://www.modusensemble.com/obj/weber.html), Carl Weber, Professor of Directing and Dramaturgy at Stanford University asks "how can theater evolve its unique mode of 'live' performance so that it will stay competitive in a market where all kinds of electronically created and enhanced performance will dominate the merchandising of entertainment."

These are understandable fears and reasonable speculations - especially from a competitive, market economy, 'survival of the fittest' perspective. However, I feel that there are indications that 'live' performer will not be replaced in either the near or distant future by the 'virtual' or electronic actor or dancer… and this has to do not with survival of the fittest, but with the survival of something whose value may be in the process of being recognised anew… such may be the case, I propose, with the ritual of attending live performance.

We are historically in a transition phase which is partially signified by an infatuation with the 'new media' worlds of virtual reality, interactive multimedia, cyberspace, hypertexts, global villages, etc. There are already indications that the period of hype is settling down. The initial euphoria for virtual reality is already partially over as indicated in Chapter 7 of Brenda Laurel's updated version of her book Computers as Theater. (4) In 1991, Amsterdam based De Balie organised a Summer Festival in 1991 where it was proposed that the 'body' has "turned out to be the weakest link in technology". A publication associated with the festival titled Wetware focussed on this theme of the obsolete body, the "human remnant which is left behind in the electronic era". There have been many such conferences and publications produced in the first half of the last decade of this century from within communities experiencing a period of infatuation with the digital revolution.

For some it may never have been in question, but in the context of developments in 'new media' and digital technologies, the value of material place and physical human contact is reasserting itself. It is easy enough to imagine the internet as a 'public' space - as indicated by the formation of many digital communities and cities around the world. However, the speculation that we might replace 'real' human contact with virtual contact seems to be evaporating. In 1984, William Gibson wrote a book in which he is credited to have coined the term 'cyberspace'. (5) Many embraced Gibson's vision of a virtual world in which all human capacities both mental and physical could fully function as a realisable vision of the future. However, Gibson himself has acknowledged recently in an interview that the world he imagined has not come to pass and it is likely that it never will. His latest book of fiction, Idoru, is still extremely futuristic - but the notion of the body as simply 'meat' has been adapted to fit within more humanistic dimensions.

Indications of this shift can be found in other fields. In a letter to the International Herald Tribune (29 April 1998) entitled "The 'New Economy' Likes Old Community", Neal Peirce cites the recent work of leading economists who are saying that new technologies are NOT causing the predicted dispersal of working communities to remote, (lovely) rural areas from which they can conduct their business. Rather, the impact of new technologies is now seen in the fluid and adaptive nature of the 'new economy' which functions best and most creatively when people can come together face-to-face… even if only for short, intensive periods.

These are indications of the process of cultural transformation where social change interacts with technological developments. In my opinion, we will see society beginning to sort out its priorities and, perhaps in reaction and resistance to the notion of virtuality (and the nightmare of information overload), the value of our physical and material public space will increase. And we should not forget the growing global support for environmental and ecological efforts to save the future of the physical world.

My proposal here is that as the infatuation with virtual reality and cyberspace diminishes, we will re-embrace live performance events and re-congregate in the material buildings and places which exist for them. In societies overwhelmed with the problems of too much data, theater and dance will function as a 'content-rich' and information filtered events - which will contribute to their survival. These developments will help to partially re-invigorate live performance forms - but by no means can we sit still waiting for this to happen. Dance and theater must simultaneously be working to re-invent themselves as relevant to a society looking for new constellations and configurations of meaning which make sense for today.

Reinvention and New Art Forms

The re-invention of live performance can take place from inside its existing forms and from outside in the development of new art forms and disciplines. As surely as with photography and film, new media technologies will give rise to new art forms (the British Film and Television Academy is trying to get a jump on this by creating a new category for awards in the area of 'interactive multimedia'). Just as with photography and film, these new art forms will have an impact on theater and dance. In addition to the interactive multimedia, there are already interesting new developments in the area of communication and networked artforms, inspired by the internet. For a further exploration of some of the ways in which these new art forms are evolving, I have listed in the Appendix [Part C] a WWW link to Montreal's Museum of Contemporary Art Media Centre where there is an up-to-date and comprehensive listing of related new media and digital arts projects.

These new art forms will demand other modes of perception which will alter our ways in which we restage Shakespeare or mount a new choreography. New technologies will also alter the modes of production of live performance (I address this issue some in my paper Sampling… convergences between dance and technology - see Appendix [Part A]). As I mentioned before, the more or less direct application and implementation of new media and information technologies in live performance is being explored by artists working with telematic performance spaces, computerized scenographic and lighting design, computerized choreography and performer controlled stage environments, holographic actors/ dancers, etc. However, the fundamental time/ space conditions for the public ritual that is theater and dance (arrival at and for a specified time and space as determined by the maker) will not necessarily change.

It is likely that we will continue to see live performance using increasingly mixed-means - a multidisciplinary performance art in which independent media, dance, film/ video, sound, scenography, texts, etc. come together to create more relevant and dynamic spectacles. Whether this is more dance or theater may become increasingly unclear. Definitions may be left up to the programmers, producers, journalists and critics who usually help determine categories for the public. I suspect we will see less strictly text-based theater… and a more physical one. Possibly 'dance' will increase in value. Johannes Odenthal, former editor of Ballett International, on the work of artists such as DV8, Jan Fabre, Meg Stuart, etc. writes: "Contemporary dance, or better, dance-theatre, gives (the) deconstructions of current images and concepts a dramatic actuality that contemporary theatre can hardly achieve". (6)

There will, I believe, be new forms of dramaturgy developed which will be relevant for the mixing of these media, and there will also be new creative organisations which evolve more fluid ways of working with companies of performers, audience and community development, support for the growth and development of the makers/ directors/ choreographers, etc. - organisational forms like Victoria in Gent. In education, such new forms are being developed at DasArts - an advanced training institution for artists which is associated with the Amsterdam School of the Arts. DasArts is actively seeking more relevant educational contexts for young artists and is indicative of directions in which creative thinking in arts education might evolve… away from the 'institution' and more towards fluid and adaptive circumstances.

Knowledge/ Expertise/ Collaboration:

With all of this going on, where do live performance makers go for knowledge and expertise in the area of 'new media'? How do they develop the skills and awareness necessary to re-invent a theater and dance which is relevant for today's audience?

A simple question might reveal a partial answer. While there is certainly a place in the live performance professions for new media specialists, does the performer need to know how to write computer software, for example? Should a choreographer be capable of assembling his or her own CD-ROM in the same way that they might be able to edit a videotape of a performance themselves?

In my opinion, the answer to these questions is an ambiguous, 'yes' and 'no'. The expertise of a digital artist or programmer is highly specialist and takes a great deal of time and commitment to learn. With evolving complexity in the technologies, this time/ commitment will only increase. The theater and dance artist benefits most from training in the performing and making of live performance (in a very real physical studio), not in spending hours and hours in front of the computer screen. This is a partially a matter of priorities, time for physical practice and rehearsal being one of the fundamental requirements for dance and theater artists.

To illustrate the complexities of digital technologies: with a typewriter, there is a one to one correspondence between hitting the keyboard letter A and the resulting mark on the paper - is an A. With word processing - pressing a particular key is likely to have a multitude of different possible effects, depending upon the combinations of other keys and mouse clicks you are using. The point here is not that live performance artists will have any trouble learning how to word process, and, of course, the new generation is growing up with these basic digital tools in their laps. But, if you extrapolate from this example and include the rapid and advanced developments in digital technologies which will be used in the mixed-means live performances I mentioned earlier (we are far, far beyond the word processor here), then it should make sense when I suggest that the dance and theater artist who wishes to work with new media needs to look for collaborators who are specialised in this medium. See the Appendix [Part B] for suggestions of where to look in the Netherlands for such collaborators.

However, on the 'yes' side, dance and theater students should find reflected in their education a greater understanding and awareness as regards the impact of new media technologies on the arts. In general, our current arts educators are experiencing a generation gap which has resulted from the rapid development of digital technologies. But, it is no longer acceptable for these educators to remain in a position from which the impact of new media is not more thoroughly understood and can be communicated to their students - and this understanding should be informed by the issues I touched on in my opening paragraphs. Educators need to be educated.

To return to the idea of mixed-means performance and collaborations with new media artists on these projects: with the new technologies comes this increasing complexity on just the technical levels (not to mention the aesthetic implications) and the result is the need for a bigger organisation, for more people with the expertise to handle and manage the digital data encoded in hardware and software. Live performance will need to learn to accommodate these larger more complicated organisations better - in operational, financial and artistic terms - possibly following the model of film production teams. In my appendix which follows, I will suggest some resource organisations and projects where these sorts of collaborations are already taking place.

Support for Artistic Experimentation:

To summarize: essentially what I have attempted to illustrate so far is my viewpoint that while they will and should be influenced by developments in media and information technology, the basic forms of live performance (theater/ dance) will survive. BUT, what about 'new' and unimagined possibilities. For these, we need to look to the artist. The most talented contemporary artists always find ways to incorporate and respond to what is happening in other fields around them, whether directly or indirectly. The theater and dance artists I mention in the second section (Lepage, Forsythe, Wilson, van Manen, etc.) are already working for some time with media as it serves their creative needs, both old and new. A big question for me, and I assume for the committees for whom this paper has been written, is how government, business, education and other forms of cultural institutions can help to create a future in which artists, working both individually and collectively, can continue to make creative responses to or correspondences with evolving 'new media' technologies?

One way to do this would be to establish clear opportunities for experimentation and exploration. Those responsible for organising such opportunities should firstly exercise extreme caution not to set in place immovable organisational structures. Similarly to what is being recognised as patterns of best functionality in the 'new economy' (as I mentioned earlier), these opportunities should be organised to remain fluid, adaptive, dispersible, responsive, etc.

Besides this, the following five things should be put in place when creating these opportunities:

  1. artistic expertise, from both theater and dance as well as the digital side
  2. theoretical expertise, so that a critical awareness can be fostered
  3. exchange of information with others doing similar work
  4. a place, where experimentation can happen without having to produce a product
  5. vision for the future of technology in 5 years


I will close this section by proposing a fantasy of my own. I do suspect that the future may hold something quite different in terms of training for theater/ dance performers. A digital training environment would have access to a variety of feedback mechanisms. Training the body, in dance, is based upon feedback, visual, proprioceptive, etc. In acting, it's the response from the actors you are playing with and the audience. It is foreseeable that digital technologies might create new environments or virtual simulations in which an actor/ dancer can practice 'performing'.

Appendix: Resources

[Part A]

For the "application and implementation of new media and information technologies in live performance" one can refer to a number of the following WWW sites - the two papers I have written on this theme (with a specific focus on dance) are available for reading on the Dance and Technology Zone's Critical Theory section (http://www.art.net/~dtz/theory.html)

[Part B]

In the Netherlands, there is a lot of activity in the field of 'new media', but not so much exploration in its relationship to live performance (although there is some activity, past and current, which I list below). There is more work happening in other countries which I have also listed below in [Part C]. One should bear in mind that availability of technologies is greater in North America. However, in terms of collaborations with specialists in the field of 'new media' - there is a lot of potential here.

As a starting point, I have listed below four key 'new media' organisations in the Netherlands who are all members of the Virtual Platform. (Mediamatic http://www.mediamatic.nl/index.html; The Digital City http://www.dds.nl; Media-GN http://www.media-gn.nl/; ACS-I http://www.Desk.nl/~acsi/index.html/ can be added to this list - but they are not, as far as I know, members of the Virtual Platform).

Postbus 19049
3001 BA Rotterdam

Keizersgracht 264
1016 EV Amsterdam

Achtergracht 19
1017 WL Amsterdam

Society for Old and New Media
De Waag
1012 CR Amsterdam

The Virtual Platform is important because it is indicative of the momentum new media developments have in the Netherlands. It was founded in the Fall of 1995 on the initiative of the head of the Visual Art, Architecture and Design department of the Cultural Affairs Directorate General at the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW). Out of this initiative a 'manifesto' document entitled "From Dada to Data" was published, and it can be found on the WWW at the following address: http://www.dds.nl/~virtplat/Econt.htm

Some of the themes of my paper are picked up in "From Dada to Data" as follows:

But the huge expectations which people have about the role of new technology should not just be accepted blindly. It is doubtful whether all the limitations will be transcended. Claims like these are made every time an innovation of any significance appears, without the anticipated cultural transformation ever materializing. A healthy skepticism is vital. Take the history of radio, for example. In the 1920s the euphoria was similar to that surrounding today's information technology. Much changed in the years that followed, but many things remained the same. (…) An essential aspect of the debate about the influence of new technology is an awareness of what is changing and, even more, what is not changing.

[Chapter 1: Expectations and Limitations "From Dada to Data" http://www.dds.nl/~virtplat/Echap1.htm]

In the Fall of 1997, there was a conference entitled "From Practice to Policy" organised by the Virtual Platform. Information and outcomes from this conference are available online at http://www.dds.nl/~p2p/.

Dance/ Theater and Technology Projects/ Activities in the Netherlands (past, present and future):

Firstly - this is NOT a comprehensive list. There are other organisations, schools and individuals involved in investigating this area which I have not listed here (some I am aware of and others I am not).

In 1996, Amsterdam and Rotterdam were host to two international projects related to Dance and Technology. The first was "Connecting Bodies" hosted by the School for New Dance Development, Amsterdam School of the Arts in June 1996. This two day international symposium on the connections between the discourses and practices of dance and technology will focussed specifically on the impact of new media technologies on dance making/ choreography. Archive website: http://huizen.dds.nl/~sdela/boi/sympos.htm. Summary Comments by Diana Theodores are available at http://art.net/~dtz/diana.html.

The second was "Future Moves" organised by Dick Hollander at the Theater Lantaren/ Venster, Rotterdam, in September 1996. "Future Moves" included a two-day conference, a performance and film series as well as a 'cyberstudio' [a collaboration between Lantaren/ Venster and Motek (http://www.motek.nl), a commercial motion capture studio based in Amsterdam]. Archive website: http://www.ipr.nl/~future-moves/

Currently, Dick Hollander is working on plans for a second 'dance and technology' event to be held in Rotterdam in collaboration with the DEAF98 festival (Digital Electronic Arts Festival organised by V2), possibly in the fall of 1998.

The Society for Old and New Media in De Waag has recently organised telematic projects involving performers. On 1 March 1998, "soft mirror" was performed using live video conferencing equipment to connect dancer Beppie Blankert in the Grand Theatre, Groningen with Caroline Dokter in de Waag in Amsterdam. There is an website with some information at http://www.media-gn.nl/mfa/isabelle/Smirror/. On 20 April 1998, another telematic improvisation took place between De Waag and the Frascati Theater.

[Part C]

As mentioned above, there is much more happening in the area of dance and theater and 'new media' around the world. I have listed below a number of related websites - festivals, organisations, institutions, journals, etc. The following are in no particular order:

Montreal's Museum of Contemporary Art Media Centre (http://media.macm.qc.ca/homea.htm)

An up-to-date and comprehensive listing of related new media and digital arts.

CyberStage (http://www.cyberstage.org/)

Recognizing the convergence between the artistic and scientific communities, CyberStage examines the use of technology by new and traditional artists, and also the emerging artistic sensibilities which are working their way into the development of new media

Convergence: The Journal of Research into New Media Technologies (http://colossus.luton.ac.uk/Convergence/)

Convergence is a refereed academic paper journal which addresses the creative, social, political and pedagogical issues raised by the advent of new media technologies.

Oudeis (http://www.oudeis.org/)

A theaterproject that shows Odysseus journey all around the world on RL stages and one Cyberstage- at the same time, connected via the Internet.

Dance and Technology Zone (http://www.art.net/~dtz)

A general resource site for those exploring the area of dance and technology. Includes artist links, upcoming and past events, a mailing list, online critical articles, and do-it-yourself pages. Many of the sites on this page came from this resource - which should be visited to see more 'dance and technology' related events/ etc.

The Open University / BBC Shakespeare Multimedia Research Project (http://www.Open.ac.uk/OU/Academic/Arts/Shakespr.htm)

This is the web site of the "Open University / BBC Shakespeare Multimedia Research Project," a team of academics in literature and theatre studies, BBC drama producers and programmers, all working to create interactive educational tools about Shakespeare in performance.

Riverbed (http://www.riverbed.com)

At Riverbed we design and develop new media projects, primarily for the visual and performing arts. We have strong ties to the performing and fine arts communities. We have collaborated with Robert Wilson, Merce Cunningham, the Estate of Keith Haring, and Bill T. Jones.

Ohio State University Department of Dance (http://www.dance.ohio-state.edu/)

The Ohio State University Department of Dance has been active in the field of dance and technology for some time. Their recent work in developing multimedia cd-rom platforms for dance can be found here. You can also read about their Labanwriter project.

The Institute for the Exploration of Virtual Realities (http://www.ukans.edu/~mreaney/)

The Institute for the Exploration of Virtual Realities, i.e.VR, is a newly formed institute within the University Theatre and the Department of Theatre & Film at the University of Kansas. Its goal is to explore the uses of virtual reality and related technologies.

Digital Dancing/ Illuminations Interactive (http://www.illumin.co.uk/umbrella96/digidance/ and http://www.illumin.co.uk/)

Digital Dancing is a unique London-based annual project (since 1995) organised by Terry Braun which creates a working laboratory for collaborations between dance and digital artists.

Bedford Interactive (http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/jimofbi/)

Bedford Interactive is a world leader in the development of sound, pedagogically based Dance Resources in Multimedia. It is a non profit making research partnership of Jim Schofield, sometime Director of Information Technology Goldsmiths' College, University of London, and Jacqueline Smith-Autard, sometime leader of Dance and Drama, De Montfort University.

Gertrude Stein Repertory Theatre (http://www.gertstein.org/)

The Gertrude Stein Repertory Theatre is a professional not-for-profit theatre, based in New York City. We are busy creating an original medium that embodies the age we live in, one that reflects the integration of multiple artistic disciplines and cultures. In our 21st century digital salon, we collaborate with multimedia artists and educational and business organizations all over the globe. Our goal is to reinvent theater, building an interactive world stage in real and virtual space and time.

International Dance and Technology 99 (http://researchnet.vprc.asu.edu/isa/idat/english.html)

This International Dance and Technology will be held at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. A convergence of performances and explorations by artists and scholars at the forefront of the field, the conference will highlight the efforts of individuals who make use of media and dance in experimental and provocative ways. Specially designed events will challenge the traditional conference format, and establish new forms for exploring the use of dance and technology on the stage, in the gallery, on the web, and in the classroom. This is the fourth in a series of Dance & Technology conferences.


(1) From an essay version of a talk entitled "Old and New Dreams for Tactical Media" by media theorist and artist David Garcia presented at the Interstanding conference in Tallin in Winter 1998. Full version available in the Nettime mail archives (http://www.desk.nl/~nettime/) Date: Mon, 23 Feb 1998; To: nettime-l@Desk.nl; From: David Garcia <davidg@xs4all.nl>; Subject: <nettime> Old and New

(2) "Our tools shape us as we shape them" is an idea central to Marshall McLuhan's theories on the relationship between man and media. For further reading: McLuhan, Marshall. Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (new edition with Introduction by Lewis Lapham). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. 1994.

(3) Robert Lepage in conversation with Alison McAlpine. In In Contact with the Gods: Directors talk theatre. Maria M. Delgado and Paul Heritage, eds. Manchester & New York: Manchester University Press. 1996. pp. 131-157.

(4) Brenda Laurel. Computers as Theatre. New York: Addison-Wesley. 1993.

(5) William Gibson. Neuromancer. New York: Ace Books. 1984.

(6) Johannes Odenthal. "Tendencies in European Dance". In Performance Research 1:1. Spring 1996. pp. 108-110.

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