Three years of research prompted by a nagging doubt that built and built over a decade of digital media and performance. As a performer hid behind a laptop, have my peers and I missed the point about liveness? Pressing buttons isn’t whats interesting, its that mass of people in front of you. Its the audience, it’s what you can do with one…

The current overview of my research would be –

Part One: Enter the audience

  • To better understand liveness, we need to enter the audience.
  • Performance Theory is coming to a framing of liveness where the audience and interaction are central.
  • Performance Theory is coming to a framing of liveness where technological interventions can be embraced.
  • To explore interaction’s role in liveness, we need to go beyond a generic, undifferentiated treatment of audience Experiments in audiencing
  • Question: is my experience, in an audience, effected by my interaction with others?
  • Question: what modalities can we identify or invent; what are their characteristics?

Part Two: Embrace the audience

  • To design for liveness, we need to embrace the audience.
  • By staging interventions in audience interaction, not only can audience experience be enhanced, but quality of performance can follow
  • What around the existing interactions could we filter or amplify; what are the observable phenomena we can concretely work with? “Are we on the same page?”
  • A formative study that starts with this colloquial phrase and finds itself in the classroom.
  • Classrooms are live situations, and trends such as podcasting lectures are bringing their live quality into sharp relief.
  • On the Same Page is mesh networking iPad software to experiment with mediated human-human interaction in the classroom.
  • Consider what can be done just by visualising what pages lecturer and students have open: moving in sync together; half the class a few slides back.
  • Without imposing any new overhead on the live situation, the performer can be paced better, the social stigma of asking questions in the audience can be flipped to reward of speaking up for many.

To read further, the timeline of my developing thesis is here –

June'11

Nine months in, the start of a thesis. But most importantly, in the abstract is a clear distillation of what I’ve been flailing about trying to pin down. The review presented is very much a hurdle passing exercise, it is missing the whole discourse on liveness to start with, and nobody is under any illusion that whats there will be what is finally submitted. And don’t get me started on Papers2’s oh-so-very-beta metadata and bibtex.

http://tobyz.net/tobyzstuff/diary/2011/06/nine-month-review-title-and-10k-words (inc. pdf)

http://tobyz.net/tobyzstuff/diary/2011/06/nine-month-review-viva

September'11

One year in, the working document is getting to be a rounded thesis, if still a many complete re-writes away from a final submission (let alone the studies themselves). This is the nine-month review with the criticisms taken to heart and notably including the conspiculous-by-its-absence liveness chapter.

http://tobyz.net/tobyzstuff/diary/2011/09/one-year-review-rounded-representation (inc. pdf)

November'11

The one-year review tidied up slightly, download as attachment on this page.

February'12

My research reworked to put the argument up-front and condensed into the few sides of a short paper. A good process, and a document I’m very happy with.

http://tobyz.net/tobyzstuff/diary/2012/02/designing-liveness-position-paper (inc. pdf)

July'12

A presentation on my research, effectively the position paper condensed further and updated.

http://tobyz.net/tobyzstuff/diary/2012/07/twelve-minutes-all-my-phd (inc. slides and tweets)

Postscript

Related is About the live in live cinema, which is many ways is everything I had to cut out in the early days of the PhD. There’s an academic essay as part of it.