This video is the first of six video excerpts from a performance shown in Daegu, South Korea, in July 2018.
'urbanflows (an experiment:1)' linked three physical locations and individuals using Skype video call technology on mobile phones. Individual performers were situated in London (UK), Vancouver (CAN), and Mälmo (SWE) and each performed their real time experience of sites/systems in their own physical location, whilst also responding to the digital impressions they were receiving from the other two performers. The split screen improvisation was viewed by an audience in Daegu as part of the PSi#24 conference (Performance Studies International). The experiment sought to reveal some of the ways that local and international, real and virtual flows and energies might together comprise a lived experience, possibly sited in a hybrid urban space that cannot be said to be situated in any one geographic location.
Each of the performers attempted to stay in tune with their own physical, rhythmical, visual, and kinaesthetic location whilst also being sensitive to and responding in real time to the images from the other two performers, seen as a split screen on their own mobile phone. In the screen recordings, what you will witness is a collage of surfaces, movements, sounds, patterns, and framings. Two of the performers were in early weekday morning scenarios (9:30am Malmö, Sweden, and 8:30am London, UK). The third was in Vancouver, Canada, in the middle of the night (12:30 midnight). In Daegu, the performance took place on the same day at 4:30pm local time – in all a spread of 16 hours difference between the four time zones.
'urbanflows (an experiment:1)' was funded through a CDD (Conservatoire of Dance and Drama) research grant, with additional assistance from University of Warwick and The Glynn Wickham Scholarship (SCUDD). The experiment is part of a larger practice-led research project 'urbanflows (immersed in worlds)' being undertaken in Coventry (2016-2019) by sirenscrossing, commissioned by Prof Nicolas Whybrow's AHRC-funded 'Sensing the City' project. sirenscrossing seeks to articulate a phenomenological, embodied theatre of urban human life as ontologically organic and wild; biologically, ecologically, socially, technologically entangled; and shaped within a time-space field of affect, meaning, and sensory inputs.
The skype performance in Daegu – 'urbanflows (an experiment:1)' – examined the virtual/screen-based existence that is becoming increasingly ubiquitous for urban humans, where phase shifts between physical and virtual are considered to be highly significant. It begins to ask questions about the nature of an everyday that is perpetually split across the embodied ‘real world’ and the digital-virtual ‘screen world’. Coventry has long been a city characterised by diaspora from across the globe and is typical of an everyday urban-wild which is increasingly dispersed across expanded personal geographies through frequent and easy international travel, and with social media, video-conferencing, and instant messaging available on mobile phones almost anywhere and anytime. 'urbanflows' experiments seek to provoke new insights into these dispersed, multi-sited, and multi-system entanglements, especially as they impact on and interact with embodied sensing of the city of Coventry. As virtual/screen-based existence becomes increasingly ubiquitous for urban humans, the phase shifts between physical and virtual experiences fragment and recombine in unpredictable ways. Where do we actually live?
Cara Siu – Vancouver, CANADA
Jia-Yu Corti – London, UK
Daniel Jeremiah Persson – SWEDEN