Today! Performing Presence: From the Live to the Simulated

An international conference, Centre for Intermedia, University of Exeter, UK, 26-29 March 2009

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.

Full conference programme is available here.


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