Call for Submissions to #DocPerform2: New Technologies

“Instead of focusing on the impermanence of live, embodied acts, it is far more useful to think of the live and the recorded as mediums that facilitate communication between spectators and performers; both of these groups oscillate between the roles of receivers and transmitters of information over the duration of a performance.”
(Joseph Dunne, Regenerating the Live: The Archive as the Genesis of a Performance Practice, 2015)

Our second Symposium considers how new technologies enhance our understanding of performance as a document, and the documentation of performance.

Following our successful launch last year, the DocPerform team are delighted to announce our second symposium that will take place over 6th and 7th November at City, University of London.

DocPerform is an interdisciplinary research project led by scholars and practitioners from the fields of performing arts and library & information science. The project concerns conceptual, methodological and technological innovations in the documentation of performance, and the extent to which performance may itself be considered to be a document.

“Provoking audiences or even just trying to reach them one-to-one clashes with what has become a signature of the digital, the ideal of a networked, collective intelligence”
(Patrick Longeran, Theatre & the Digital, 2014)

Advances in technology including 360° recording, binaural sound, virtual reality, augmented reality, multisensory internet, pervasive computing and the internet of things, have revolutionised the way we interact with the digital world. These technologies have brought about a convergence of eBooks, interactive narratives, video games, television programming, video and films, so that previous boundaries of document categories are no longer meaningful.

As our understanding of, and interaction with documents is evolving, so are the ways in which we can experience, record and remember performance. Technology is the means by which we create new documents, and also the means by which we can record, preserve, access and replay them.

“A participatory story or experience (fiction or fact-based) is one in which the ‘reader’ moves beyond a passive experience of the text and becomes an active participant.”
(Lyn Robinson, Multisensory, Pervasive, Immersive: Towards a New Generation of Documents, 2015)

Technology allows us not only to create, experience and re-experience new types of digital documents, but also to record and re-experience analogue events which are demanding of temporal and locational parameters, from our children’s birthday parties, through rock concerts, to dance and theatre.

Two key elements are participation and immersion; the former implies the degree of agency experienced, whilst the latter is the extent to which unreality is perceived as reality. These elements are facilitated by technologies such as transmedia and pervasive computing, VR and AR, wherein readers/observers or audience members experience a high level of ‘presence’, and can readily switch between the role of observer, participant or creator.

These developments compel us to investigate how performance documentation will evolve in terms of changing audience and readership behaviours. Moreover, the means by which theatre and dance are produced will inevitably have to respond to the burgeoning demands of online participatory culture beyond existing documentation techniques.

DocPerform 2 invites submissions for papers, performative papers, subjects for plenaries, workshop activities, or “provocations” from scholars and artists working in the areas of performance documentation, digital arts, library & information science, social media technologists, internet archaeology, audience participation, immersive theatre, and archives. We are especially interested in works relating to dance and theatre.

We anticipate that formal papers will last for 20 mins, including questions, but we are open to suggestions for the timing of other activities. By extending the symposium to 2 days, we are allowing more time for discussion, networking and planning.

Topics for activities may include but are not limited to:

Theme 1: Concepts
Why do we document performance? Who are we documenting for?
Performance as a document, documents as performance
What is missing in our current documentation, the records and archives of performance?

Theme 2: Technologies for creation
Innovative use of technology to create performance
Distributed or diffuse performance systems using transmedia technologies
Documentation systems that incorporate user-generated interfaces
Online performances

Theme 3: Technologies for documentation
Innovative use of technology in recording, preserving and re-experiencing performance
The potential functions of performance documentation beyond creating a record of evidence
Approaches to exceeding the document as a record of evidence
Models of documenting using interactive interfaces
Potential status of archivists, documentalists and information professionals in theatre and dance production processes

Theme 4: Technologies for the audience
Changing readership/audience behaviours in the context of digital culture
Models of audience participation online platforms
Elisions between spectator/performer, author/reader

Theme 5: Technologies of the imagination

Offline/online/onlife…what next?

Please send suggestions/abstracts to both Lyn and Joe [lyn{at}, jjd201{at]] by Friday September 15th. Authors of successful submissions will be notified in early October 2017.