How we are together
: generosity and dissonance in internet-situated performance art

  • Jane Dunlop

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    How we are together: generosity and dissonance in internet-situated
    performance art is a practice as research PhD that focuses on how artistic
    practices engage with the increasing ubiquity of internet communication.
    Specifically, it addresses how performance art practices respond to the ways
    internet-enabled technologies augment and extend the interactions between
    individuals. How we are together investigates what “together” means as
    internet communication technologies become ubiquitous, and how social
    relations interweave the on and offline sites of contemporary culture. Through
    a series of artworks devised alongside written analyses, the project
    demonstrates the ways in which “internet-situated” performance and
    performative artworks highlight the increasing digital mediation of
    contemporary practices of relation. These practices, and the relationships
    instantiated through them, are the basis of an investigation into the entangled
    politics of the emotional and technological. How we are together defines a set
    of contemporary “internet-situated” performance art practices, creating a
    subset of internet art that is specifically using and referring to the social
    processes of digital communications. The innovative nature of this thesis
    emerges from its approach to the interconnected emotional and technological
    politics of internet communications through its theorising of the concepts
    “generosity” and “dissonance”. Expanding upon Rosalyn Diprose’s Corporeal
    Generosity (2004), this project demonstrates how generosity operates as a
    tool in artistic practice that emphasises relation and enacts a specific
    openness and care through the terms of reciprocity in exchange. Dissonance,
    defined by building on theories of friction, failure and disruption in both
    technology and performance, provides a new critical intervention into the
    imbrication of emotion with digital technologies in contemporary culture. The
    conceptual and practical interventions of dissonance and generosity are
    demonstrated across the written analyses and artistic practice, which
    developed in parallel over the period of research. The project asks: In what
    specific ways is the practice of art shaped and forged by the new
    contingencies of relations that emerge within internet-situated contexts? In
    answering this question, I combine performance studies and feminist cultural theories with practice as research; this produces a new and innovative
    engagement with both digital philosophies and performance practices. This
    practice as research approach draws on feminist epistemologies to
    emphasise situated knowledges and emotion. In this way, the thesis bridges
    the theoretical gap between theories that address the politics of emotion and
    those that focus on the impacts of digital technologies.
    Date of AwardJul 2018
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Brighton
    SupervisorPaul Sermon (Supervisor)

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