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Performative turn

The last edition of the Dutch Electronic Art Festival was organised around the theme of interactivity. Interact or Die! focused on interactivity in general (“Interaction not as a deformation of existing forms, but rather an addition of information, an informing, a formation of forms”) and the notion of interactivity in art in particular (“Interactive art is an open kind of art, one that permits multiple perceptions, though not every perception”).

The symposium that took place during the festival brought several speakers from diverse backgrounds together around this notion of interactivity. (a.o Detlef Mertins, Lars Spuybroek and Howard Caygill).

Noortje Marres presented a paper around the question whether there is “drama in social networks”. She problematized the fact that “in some respects, the organizational form of networks (…) make them ill-suited for the staging of political drama”. Especially interesting was that she referred to the “performative turn” described by Edmund Burke and the American sociologist Erving Goffman who “described everyday life as a set of dramatic performances (and came to the conclusion that) all social interaction can be characterized in terms of people putting on shows for others”.

For the complete development of her argument I refer to her chapter in the symposium book, but she concluded by stating that the possibility of drama in (political) networks “depends on the type of networks we choose to focus on and our idea as to what the drama of politics consists of”.

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