Performing Presence: From the Live to the Simulated

Performing Presence: From the Live to the Simulated – An international conference :: March, 26-29, 2009 :: Centre for Intermedia, University of Exeter, UK :: CALL FOR PAPERS – Deadline: December 1, 2008.

What creates a sense of presence? the presence of a live performer … the presence of the past … in a memory … in ruined remains … the sense of ‘being there’ in an online community … in a VR or mixed reality environment … Presence is a fundamental yet highly contested aspect of performance, and performance has come to be a key concept in many different fields. Notions of presence hinge on the relationship between the live and mediated, on notions of immediacy, authenticity and originality. Debates over the nature of the actor’s presence have been at the heart of key aspects of theatre practice and theory since the late 1950s and are a vital part of the discourses surrounding avant-garde and postmodern performance. The advent of new media forms, and the increasing integration of contemporary performance and media, has generated new engagements, practices and understandings of presence in performance.

Archaeology is increasingly understood less as the discovery of the past and more in terms of different relationships with what is left of the past. This foregrounds anthropological questions of the performance and construction of the past in memory, narrative, collections (of textual and material sources), archives and systems of documentation, in experiences of place.

In Computer Science, “presence” is a key concept and goal in the construction of Virtual Environments: complex interactive projections that simulate three-dimensional environments and which may include representations of humans (avatars).

Performing Presence: from the live to the simulated will be an international and interdisciplinary forum for the exploration of how exchanges of practices, concepts and methodologies between art, performance and new media practitioners, between academic disciplines and between live, mediated and simulated performance may deepen an understanding of the performance of presence.


Matt Adams, Blast Theory
Tim Etchells, Artistic Director, Forced Entertainment
Adrian Heathfield, Professor of Performance ands Visual Culture, Roehampton University
Lynn Hershman-Leeson, media artist
Hugo Glendinning, photographer, AHRC Fellow in the Creative and Performing Arts, Centre for Intermedia, University of Exeter
Ken Goldberg, artist, Professor, Industrial Engineering and Operations Research (IEOR), UC Berkeley and Director, Berkeley Centre for New Media
Mike Pearson, Professor of Performance Studies, University of Wales, Aberystwyth and Mike Brookes, artist
Paul Sermon, media artist, Professor of Creative Technology, University of Salford
Michael Shanks, archaeologist, The Omar and Althea Hoskins Professor of Classical Archaeology, Stanford University
Marianne Weems, Artistic Director, The Builders Association
Krzysztof Wodiczko, artist, Professor of Visual Arts, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Keynote presentations will include papers, performative events, performance, as well as real/second life forums.

*Please note all keynotes may be subject to change.
CALL FOR PAPERS: The conference will engage with a wide range of disciplines, art and performance practices, technologies of presence, theory and modes and practices of documentation. Key questions may include:

• What are the chief signifiers of presence?
• How is presence achieved through theatrical performance?
• What makes a memory come alive and live again?
• How are practices of presence connected with senses of self and identity?
• Is presence synonymous with ‘being in the moment’?
• What is the nature of the ‘co-presence’ of audience and performer?
• Does presence imply distance?
• Where does performance practice end and its documentation begin?
• In what tense does documentation take place?
• Can technology produce presence?
• Is presence a form of immersion?
• Is documentation theory or practice?
• What happens when documentation becomes time-based and ephemeral?
• Where does practice end and its documentation begin?
• In what tense does documentation take place?

Proposals for presentations of all kinds are welcome: papers, panel proposals, performative events and performances.

250 word proposals, with any relevant technical requirements, should be submitted to the Linda Dowsett, the Conference Administrator, NO LATER THAN 1st DECEMBER 2008.

Conference registration opens 1st December 2008 and closes 31st January 2009.
Registration fee: £160/£100 (concessions), including all conference events, excluding accommodation.
Please follow this link for a conference registration form.

Performing Presence is managed by Nick Kaye and Gabriella Giannachi of the department of Drama at University of Exeter, the archaeologist Michael Shanks at Stanford University, and Mel Slater, Professor of Virtual Environments at University College, London, and is in receipt of substantial funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

For any enquiries regarding the conference, proposals or registration please contact Linda Dowsett, Performing Presence Conference Administrator, Department of Drama, Thornlea, New North Road, Exeter, Devon, EX4 4LA, UK.
E-mail: Telephone : +44 (0)1392 262332.

Performing Presence is the culminating conference of the Arts and Humanities funded interdisciplinary research project, Performing Presence: from the live to the simulated (2005-9). The project is tracked at our major website.

The Exeter Centre for Intermedia is a University Supported Research Centre that promotes advanced transdisciplinary research in performance and the arts through collaborations between artists, academics and scientists from a range of disciplines.

Oct 10, 17:24
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