Participation as media: a compositional system for staging participation with reflective scenography
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The practice-led research develops a compositional system for staging participation within reflective scenographies, and suggests an artistic concept of 'participation as media', which propose the participatory involvement as compositional material in itself. The research takes a starting point in the author's expert practice as a performer and director, and identifies key compositional problems from analysis of previous productions of participatory artworks. The practice-led research processes were organised into two laboratory events, a series of method investigations, and the production of two participatory installation artworks Mirror-Zone-Site and Zen- Sofa Arrangement. The approach is to rethink theatre as a complex communicational system of reflective operations, and to recognise performer technique as several simultaneously working levels of self-referential communicative operations, that can be staged as a participatory condition by reflective scenography. From a compositional perspective the question is how to externalise the performer's technique as abstracted mediating structures, and implement them by the use of responsive and mediating technology embedded in the reflective operations of a scenography. The compositional system consists of design parameters, compositional strategies, and a postprogressive dramaturgy. The design parameters framing, channelling, and coupling, organise a calibration of the staged feedback operations. The compositional strategies, which derive from practices of performer technique, organise scenarios of introvert, extrovert and social referencing operations. The postprogressive dramaturgy informs the performative engagement of the participant as a process of experiential narrativation. The system enables a capability to navigate the compositional process into the complex creation of participatory engagement as a media in itself, and enables a structured overview on the compositional process, argued in an interdisciplinary context. The research investigates events that involve the visitor in the realisation of the work, to an extent where the media of the artwork is the activity of participation in itself and the participatory engagement forms a main site of the emergence of the artwork. Through the visitor's acts of participation, she releases the potential of the artwork, and as such, occupies a crucial position in the constitution of the work These artworks are suggested to stage the participant in structures of communication and include her as an operator in a communication device.
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