Book of the Week: Entangled

 Entangled, by Chris Salter

 This book published by the MIT press, has themes as “screen vs. scene, materiality of media and real time and the dynamic and interactive processes that mix human and technical presences”. It has several chapters devoted to performance and the intersection between scene and screen, and also dwells on the more recent role of spectators as creators and inhabitants of space.
It was interesting to see projects from decades ago that resonate with responsive environments, open source tendencies, and real-time interactions. Krueger in 1996 said that “The environment cannot respond to what it cannot perceive”. (Salter, 2011). This led me to reflect on perception, the parameters that are used now and what to do when we actually visualize data, and when the system perceives all this information.
 Gruppo T’s work in the 60’s
The part that really interested me, and where I notice a big shift from the galleries (and stage for that matter), and screens, into the streets is precisely in urban interactions and the play in public space. Perhaps I am more aware of it now after our SRVD (Socially Responsive Design) project and all the interventions we did in public spaces, but I find, like the author, that works like the ones from Blast Theory or Improv Everywhere have a physical tactile quality of getting people together, not only virtually, but in real life, to engage in situations that break the ordinary. The interaction moves beyond the screen into the lives and bodies of people participating and being part of a bigger system, yet linked together by technologies like social media.
Salter mentions the common thread in all of these projects:
  • The use of distributed mobile and open technologies to aggregate large collectives
  •  The embedding of the game within everyday physical geography of the city
  •  The amassing of a group of untrained non professional participants within a defined and fleeting time duration
  •  The shifting perceptual thresholds between performers and audiences
  • The temporary disruption of social norms and habituated patterns of action
This was a fruitful read, in terms of an overview of interactive works out there, and an accurate depiction of performance and where it is now a days.
CAVE: a high-end, stereoscopic immersive computer simulation projection
Improv Everywhere’s MP3 Experiment
Improv Everywhere’s Say something nice

Can you see me now? Blast Theory, 2005.
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