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Defined from a wide range of perspectives throughout history under specific sociocultural circumstances, the idea has brought critical scrutiny to the related questions of presence, disappearance, absence, and recurrence of the performing subject. At the same time, immediacy, temporality, and authenticity of human contact as well as human-to-nonhuman contact have also been interrogated under the rubric of liveness.
Interdisciplinary studies of liveness tend to inquire into three areas: ideology, technology, and ontology of performance, which are by no means fixed terrains but rather overlapping and corroborating regimes reflecting the transforming notions of liveness.
As the medium of performance became more diversified and convergent over time, the notion of liveness accordingly became complicated. Digital performance supposes that there are some elements not present in the same time and space with the audience, for example, live performers are replaced by their digital or holographic projections to interface with a live audience or digitized performers coexist with live performers on stage.
Hence, the supposed binary between live and mediatized concerns media platforms that channel that interaction and its varying degrees of intensity. Often this opposition assumes that what the audience members see and hear on stage is a more intimate presentation without any mediation, whereas what they see and hear on screen are mediatized events, in which the closeness of interactions between live performers and spectators has been diluted. This binary is most concerned with temporal flow, in the sense that live performance can only exist in the present, whereas recorded performance is nothing more than the revived live performance of the past.
These sets of binary oppositions are hypothetical; in reality, it is impossible to distinguish the pure notion of liveness from the other concepts. The oppositions listed above are meaningful only to the extent that they function as a useful starting point for their eventual intersections and conceptual convergence in actual performance. Debate in Performance Studies While performance studies is not the only academic discipline to have hosted a fertile debate on liveness, it is certainly privileged in the sense that it has witnessed rigorous articulation of the concept that has reflected upon the central premise of the field: performance itself.
The question of what constitutes a performance cannot be separated from the calibration of liveness as a discourse that encompasses a wide range of often seemingly contradicting concepts, such as ephemerality and recording, as well as disappearance and remains.
The two most prominent debaters in the field are arguably Peggy Phelan and Philip Auslander. Their varying positions have generated many more critical reviews and invited expanded arguments by other performance studies scholars such as Mathew Causey, Steve Dixon, Jennifer Parker-Starbuck, Daniel Sack, Chris Salter, and Rebecca Schneider. Performance cannot be saved, recorded, documented, or otherwise participate in the circulation of representation of representations.
Poised forever at the threshold of the present, performance enacts the productive appeal of the non-reproductive. Liveness as a Medium-Specific Concept As can be gleaned from the previous section, the concept of liveness is relevant to various media formats while its precise articulation is pertinent to the specificity of the media being investigated.
Music was heard as it was produced, but when recording technology became available, music was reduced to the sonic sphere, giving rise to anxiety over the authenticity of the recordings; after all, how do we know who is really performing the music just by listening to it? Of all genres, pop music in the age of YouTube, in particular, became a synaesthetic playing field where audio and visuals became forever married.
The slippery division between audio and visual equally applies to the conceptual borderline between live and mediatized. Auslander further observes that the invention of gramophones and films did not raise any questions about the division between live and mediatized, as listening to live concert music cannot be confused with listening to a recording of the concert.
But with the advent of radio and television, the distinction became fuzzier, as both media, at least in their nascent stage, established themselves as live.
This mode of film consumption required audiences to be co-present in the same space, while a conspicuous gap between the time of filmic action and the time of film viewing persisted. Both terms reflect how television was initially conceived as a prime venue for live broadcasting.
But his criticism, if anything at all, evidences how the discussion on liveness is so central to the field. The necessary condition for televisual liveness, which is built on the temporal coincidence of performers and spectators who do not coexist spatially, is also a typical marker of liveness in the age of digital media. Feuer was primarily concerned with television as a medium to explicate the notion of liveness as a mode of social interaction; Couldry wrote at the dawn of the new millennium, when transmedia practices had developed in unprecedentedly globalized ways.
As a result, the unity of time has been dismantled: not only has the time between production and consumption become misaligned, but also the unified time of consumption has become disseminated into multiple times. In short, with the advent of microcasting, there were as many time zones of consumption as there were consumers. Yet with the increasing relevance of new media in daily life, live interactions between spectators and performers as well as fans and stars are multiplying and intensifying in unprecedented ways.
One of the most prominent changes brought by transmedial practice is that the traditional distinctions among media platforms—theater, music concerts, TV, film, video art, and online social media interactions—are becoming less and less meaningful. For instance, the stage designs by Es Devlin often use elements of visual art installation for large commercial music concerts. In the age of social media, a recorded live theater piece or a film clip can facilitate online sharing and enable a broad wave of ongoing participation from spectators, rendering the time lapse between production and consumption meaningless.
With the advent of social media, co-presence in time became an elective component rather than a prerequisite. It enables individuals and groups to be continuously co-present to each other even as they move independently across space. Although this category of liveness has its valence in describing certain social interactions, such as various actual communities in the real world extending their engagement with one another in cyberspace, the reverse is also true, that live interaction can start virtually online to create actual communities in real space.
The Future of Liveness We live in an era when the impossible technology of the future has already been imagined and projected in visual performance so thoroughly that when that technology enters the realm of everyday reality, we experience less shock.
One of the popular introductions of the hologram as a future technology was in the first installment of the Star Wars film series, A New Hope , in which R2-D2 projected a small holographic image of Princess Leia to Luke Skywalker in her plea to save the Rebel Alliance.
The scene provided the first well-known instance of what it would be like to communicate with a 3-D projection.
In a similar vein, the film Matrix in presented a world in which the real is imbricated in the virtual, yet only in the mids is virtual reality beginning to be mass marketed in the parts of the world where digital consumerism prevails.
Technologies of the future—hologram, virtual reality VR , and augmented reality AR , 43 immersive visualization; navigable cinematic systems; and interactive narrative—are already interfering with live performance in unprecedented ways. They complicate the phenomenology of performance by disturbing the perception of time and space.
Technology helps to manipulate a semblance of synchronicity among diachronically dispersed subjects. The much-talked-about resurrection of Elvis Presley in hologram projection via rotoscoping technology to sing next to Celine Dion on the American Idol stage, and that of the late rapper Tupac Shakur, who was shown on stage as a hologram with Snoop Dogg and Dr.
Dre during the Coachella Music Festival, are two prominent examples. In the United Kingdom, there is even a TV show called Impossible Duet in which stars can sing along with their favorite idols from previous generations, making an appearance on stage as holograms. As these examples evidence, the interface between the virtual performer and the live audience can easily be created with the assistance of technology, putting into question whether virtual human presence should be disqualified as an agent of liveness.
In , Italian composer Franco Battiato relied on virtual presentation of singers via hologram to stage his new opera dedicated to the 16th-century philosopher Bernardino Telesio. A creation of the Hokkaido-based firm Crypton Future Media, she debuted in as a vocaloid, eventually assuming a corporeal form of a sixteen-year-old girl with two voluptuous turquoise pigtails in the 3-D projection on stage.
Can a body without organs, like that of Hatsune Miku, participate in the construction of liveness after all? Aided by ever transforming technologies, performances like these will most likely challenge the meaning of sociality as embedded in the ideological and affective underpinnings of human interaction.
In the new millennium, there is increasing attention paid to critical works on how the notion of liveness is not exclusively reserved to describe the interface between human and human, or human and other living organisms, but also applicable to human and nonhuman actors.
And yet, despite the fact that the performance stage of the future will increasingly be augmented with awe-inspiring technologies, there will always be a real-time event where living human bodies will congregate in the old-fashioned way—as has been the case as long as humanity has been in existence. Further Reading.
Liveness: Performance of Ideology and Technology in the Changing Media Environment
Zulukinos Refresh and try again. Performances that derive from templates instead reference an ideal template, and attempt to borrow its aura or authority. Representation developed initially with capitalism but was gradually replaced by repetition as a result of mass-production. Arguably, the same could be said today of the internet. In addition to his scholarly work on performance, Prof. Philip Auslander Quotes The polemical aspects are less intrusive.
Liveness: Performance in a Mediatized Culture
Kazshura Even though it is arguable that rock is equally steeped in a long tradition of masculine display that was often effeminate and implicitly queer, evocations of that tradition are not generally seen auslsnder rock culture as celebrations of rock authenticity. Auslander is the editor of Performance: Project MUSE Mission Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide. Ultimately, Auslander auslabder that there are no ontological differences between live kiveness and media. Auslander writes art criticism for ArtForum and other publications. Liveness [ Readings ] In this new edition, the author thoroughly updates his provocative argument to take into account new digital and media technologies, and cultural, social and legal developments. Want to Read Currently Reading Read.