How does the use of live technologies in theatrical performance comment on our own positioning in a post-industrial technologically based society? How does this in turn exemplify some of the concerns of the postmodernists?
Postmodern cinema is rich in intertextual references, and is often self-reflexive. However, the same can be said of theatre performances that use technology, as it enables more possibilities for communicating in other ways than through the spoken text on stage. These references therefore be perceived through mediums such as visuals and sound. As composer Philip Glass (in Powell; 1997: pg.un) observed ‘technology is a lot of things. The grand piano was a piece of technology.' Douglas Coupland (1995) also stated that ‘Language is such a technology.' . Indeed, ‘technology' can mean many things and postmodernism encourages the fusion and juxtaposition of many disciplines such as film, music, and the time-based medium of video art. As Auslander (1999:24) observed, ‘live performance now often incorporates mediatization such that the live event itself is a product of media technologies'. This highlights the inevitable positioning of the performer and of ourselves as the product and object of the technology being used and as cyborgs in our post-industrial and technologically based society.
[...] This goes back to the main idea at the centre of the concept of cyberculture. Indeed, what cybeculture has done is not kill one medium for the development of another or replace the body with a machine. Rather, it has highlighted their inevitable interactions in a post-industrial and technologically based postmodern society. Bibliography A Clockwork Orange (1971). Stanley Kubrick (director), Anthony Burgess (novel). Anderson, L (2005). On The Waters Reglitterized. http://www.laurieanderson.com Auslander, P (1999). Liveness: Performance in a Mediatized Culture, London: Routledge, p (1997). From Acting to Performance, London: Routledge, p Birringer, J (1991). [...]
[...] ‘Staging Meaning: performance in the modern museum' in The Drama Review, fall 2005, volume 49, number Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, p.88. Coupland, D (1995). Microserfs, New York: Regan Books, pg.un. Dixon, S (2004). ‘Metal Performance: humanizing robots, returning to nature, and camping about' in The Drama Review, winter 2004, volume 48 number Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, p.26. Etchells, T (2001). The Dream Dictionary for the Modern Dreamer. London: Duck Editions, pp 119-120. Glass, P (1997) in Powell, A. ‘Laurie Anderson - aural-visual artist' in Interview, March 1997. [...]
[...] In a way, they are just a stage presence. In their automatic synchronisation and obedience to the film, they are cyborg-like. As Haraway (1985; in 1991:168) observed, ‘high-tech culture challenges these dualisms in intriguing ways. It is not clear who makes and who is made in the relation between human and machine. Hence, they also put the audience in a position of not knowing who is governing the actions, the stage or the screen, the organic body or the technological media, as well as questioning which of these fragmented identities and subjectivities is really ‘present'. [...]
[...] Goodman (2000: 288) refers to the emergence of a ‘replay culture' where we are used to rewinding everything. She says that, as a result, often seems that we no longer live so much in the moment, but rather live in the frame of a media –orientated world-view'. The digital reality seems to take over as Quick (2005: 11) observes that we are left with are the redundant images of the already said and experienced'. This mirrors what the main character feels when he says ‘sometimes I seem to read the same sentence again and again'. [...]
[...] In this way, it works in the same way as a film where editing and the use of accelerated or slow motion can play with time in a way that live performance cannot. As the character Harry expresses, it ‘sounds like a film.' The woman next to him replies is. It's just like a film'. Just as his life may seem like a film with different characters running in and out, the piece is rich in intertextuality taken from film. [...]
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