Thursday, May 03, 2001

Back - from having fun in New York (I never managed to get to the Cloisters and check if the chapel Baudrillard writes about has been moved back to France yet), from talking to Espen Aarseth, my darling supervisor, and from the DAC Conference 2001. But I guess I have to realise I have more than one thing undone and unseen in New York.

But I did see Yoko's presentation to her performance class at NYU, Tisch School of Arts. Yoko is Japanese, married to a Finn, a former modern arts curator, a self-nominated nerd and one of the most intelligent, funny and enthusiastic people I know (on top of being beautiful and well-bred. grrr.) This paragon (no, I am not sarcastic, she even has a great voice and is graceful) presented a performance with and about digital media. Dressed in white, pale as a japanese vampire, carrying a CD like a mirror, a weapon or a treasure, she sang to us, before she started the video showing the hilarious capture of a woman who tried to assassinate Bill Gates in the name of a radical lesbian religion. Killing at least one agent with CDs thrown like ninja-stars, she was finally subdued by the Mistress wielding the web.... the web-mistress of course.

Where the first part had been almost a homage to technology, and the second part heralded disaster in a humorous manner (he controls my words), the third part of her performance was dystopic, a dancer captured by technology, literally trapped by the cords of the mice of several computers (the mouse had earlier on been wielded as a weapon, in the little video), howling her rage and frustration against walls covered with floating clouds. That was Holocaust and "The Matrix" in one vision.

Seeing Yoko's work made the hour we had to sit through the work of one of the other students worth while. The other performance was riddled with the bane of technology performances: technology which didn't work, too ambitiously planned, lack of understanding of what things like html is - or if they understood, not easily communicated to the audience what the meaning is - and a too fragmented screen for a performance for a group, rather than a game/experiment for single viewers from in front of their screen. As the presentation was explained to me later, it had several interesting points - sadly, the lack of 40 backup-plans (you need at least that many) made it too improvised and unclear to make the impression Yoko's presentation did. The human body is still a very good tool for a performance!

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