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Lives Interrupted – Lecture and Classes at University of Wisconsin Madison

If you are in Madison on 7 November come along to hear about my research into how phones are shifting our perceptions of everyday life, theatre and our relationships.

I’ll also be visiting classes with undergraduate and postgraduate students. Looking forward to connecting with emerging artists in Madison.

Lives Interrupted: Rethinking theatre and smartphones through transmedia dramaturgy

Live theatre and funerals: the two places survey respondents report that it is inappropriate to use your smartphone. Dinner tables, classrooms, bedrooms, rock concerts and almost all other aspects of public and private life have been colonized by a device less than a decade old. Understanding why smartphones remain taboo at live theatre events reveals what is special about both media and how they function as stages of remediation in our lives.

Set within wider trans- and ‘spreadable’ media discourses and the thawing of monolithic media ownership through fan culture, this paper begins to draw parallels between developments in theatre and other media that have had to move ‘over the top’ of existing communications infrastructure to enter a digitally networked culture. If theatre is the original transmedia art form where all the signifying elements of the stage work in parallel but in proximity within an overarching mise-en-scène, then can it provide a model for understanding experiences of performance distributed across media channels more broadly?

This talk is part of an ongoing practice-led research inquiry into possible ‘transmedia dramaturgies’ of performance in proximity to smartphones. The research has already led to Vanitas a hybrid event deployed over smartphone apps, installation, real-world locations, phone calls, SMS and email that premiered at the 2016 Festival of Live Art in Melbourne.

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