Appointed As

Center for Comparative Media Analysis and Practice


ACLS Emerging Voices Fellowships program


Vanderbilt University

PhD Field of Study

PhD, Media Arts and Technology, University of California, Santa Barbara

Dissertation Abstract

"Is Any-body There?: [Re]envisioning Liveness through Digital Performance [Re]visit"

Performance studies scholars have had many debates over the definition of “liveness” in digitally-mediated performances. Many scholars have characterized liveness as a unique fundamental quality of performances that has distinguished performing arts from different art forms influenced by mediation and mediatization. Some have argued about the necessity of having a new ontology for liveness, based on the new configuration of the body and its extension through technology.
Is Any-Body There? (Re)envisioning Liveness through Digital Performance (Re)visit is a practice-based dissertation, which probes the new meanings and manifestations of liveness in our emerging cultural context highly influenced by the advent of digital technologies. It is the first research study to consider creating “digital performance revisits” as a research methodology in performance/media arts and studies. To this end, I have developed and exhibited three interactive multimedia performances, inspired by three historical performance art masterpieces, which I have referred to as “revisiting performances.” Each artwork through its specific interaction design and application of “techno-actors” (digitally mediated or synthesized performing bodies) has problematized and provoked questions about the notions of techno-liveness and tele-presence on stage. This research methodology has enabled a meaningful analytical comparison between my three performative experiments and the former artworks in order to explore these concepts in the contexts of digitally-mediated interactions with “techno-bodies” (the artificial bodies of techno-actors), as opposed to unmediated interactions with the live performers’ corporeal bodies on stage.
Considering these performance scenarios as “theatrical Turing Tests,” the performance participants are considered as human evaluators who interact with various types of videated, tele-present, and robotic bodies and determine whether they can recognize the live presence of a human (or its believable simulation) on the other side of the digital medium or not. By using digital media/performance theory and praxis, this research analytically and practically examines the potential of digital technology as a medium for the transmission and synthesis of live presence and affect.