Booklist: Media Arts
Media and Performance: Along the Border
Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998
Book Description: In Media and Performance, choreographer Johannes Birringer offers the first comprehensive critical study of the intimate relationship between dance and performance art and the new media technologies in contemporary culture. The book interweaves Birringer's recollections of his own work in the alternative culture along with commentary on contemporary artists, from Nam June Paik to Laurie Anderson and Madonna. At a time when the new arts are being accepted and adopted by mainstream institutions, Birringer reclaims performance as process and movement, as political commitment to social activism and community, as aesthetic intervention into technological and economic structures of domination, and as anarchist disturbance of aesthetic pretensions. The author discusses the performance aspects of such political events as the breaching of the Berlin wall and the destruction of Sarajevo, and examines the use of video and agitprop performance in political activity, including protests by the gay activist group ACT UP and the disquieting performances of the former pornography actress and sex worker Annie Sprinkle. Birringer ends with a discussion of the continuing incursions of business into digital media, including the "imperialism of technological enhancements" as experienced in the culture of constant "upgrades" and the omnipresence of Bill Gates.
Performance on the Edge: Transformations of Culture
Johannes H. Birringer
Athlone Press, 2000
Book Description: Performance on the Edge takes the reader on a journey across geographical borders and conceptual boundaries in order to map out the new territory of contemporary theatre, dance, media arts and activism. Working across social, cultural and political fault lines, the book explores performance as both process and contact, as the commitment to political activism and the reconstruction of community, as site-specific intervention into the social and technological structures of abandonment, and as the highly charged embodiment of erotic fantasies. The book addresses the politics of community-oriented and reconstructive artmaking in an era marked by the AIDS crisis, cultural and racial polarization, warfare, separatism and xenophobia. Provocatively illustrated with work from North and Central America and Eastern and Western Europe, the book challenges our assumptions about the relations between media and activism, technological imperatives and social processes and bodily identities and virtual communities.
Conversations on Art and Performance
Bonnie Marranca and Gautam Dasgupta, editors
Johns Hopkins University Press/PAJ Books, 1999
Book Description: In this collection of more than three-dozen conversations on contemporary art and ideas, Marranca and Dasgupta bring together influential performers, video artists, playwrights, filmmakers, composers, and critics to talk about the artistic process, the perception of artworks by audiences, and the complex aesthetic, social, and political interrelationships that artworks reflect in the life of a culture. At the center of inquiry are issues that have preoccupied arts discussion in the last quarter of the century, addressed here by the very artists and thinkers responsible for extending the boundaries of their chosen fields in their search for new artistic and critical languages. Conversations takes up a broad range of key questions. What is the nature of presence? How does one see? Where does meaning reside? Topics include the creative process, the impact of criticism and historical legacies, arts funding and education, the modernism/ postmodernism debates, and the special tensions between private and public spheres and between personal statement and the need for communication. In touchstones that are surprisingly similar, what emerge from these conversations are the high standards and intellectual rigor these artists bring to their work, commitment to artistic ideals, and the demands placed on the artists as well as the public. Contributors include John Cage; Gary Hill; Laurie Anderson; Edward Said; Susan Sontag; Umberto Eco; John Ashbery; Robert Jay Lifton; Philip Glass; Stanley Kauffmann; Edwin Denby; Mac Wellman; Maria Irene Fornes; Trisha Brown; Carolee Schneemann; Robert Wilson; Richard Foreman; Herbert Blau; John Guare; Judith Malina; Elizabeth LeCompte; and Wallace Shawn.