Reading and making space through performance

Submitted: 21-02-2016 (Approved 27-04-2016)

Workshop proposal for the Science + Technology By Other Means Conference, Barcelona (September 2016).

For the track:
Sensing, Walking and Embodiment With and By Technologies: A Track Away From The Desk


Reading and making space through performance


Bueno de Mesquita, N. and Ghajarjazi, A.

Short Abstract

The capabilities of a location-based application is explored as a way to situate knowledge about a site specific public (space) issue. Participants are invited to take part in a collective and performative cartography, through which an array of story lines unfold and branch out to open-ended scenarios.

Long Abstract

This proposal sets off from Jacques Ranciére’s skepticism of ‘stultifying’ knowledge and proposes a process- and affect-based way of acquiring knowledge through performative mapping with GPS technology. We assemble a number of story lines that present a controversy about a specific site. Each story line takes a different stance on the controversy. These stories become accessible to participants of the conference through the use of location-aware mobile technologies where the sound implicitly gives directions. Only by following the exact same route does the story unfold – when deviating from the track, the audio fades out. The public spaces that the participants pass through are the backdrop of the stories, a shared space between the guides and the participants. An intensive engagement with the story-teller is proposed through a performative cartography. Through taking the role of the story teller, at some point of the track, the participant is invited to continue his/her story line in dialogue with another participant; a personification of the storyteller becomes a strategy to follow on Ranciére’s Emancipation of the Spectacle in defying “the opposition between viewing and acting”. This experience can be repeated with other participants through following, listening, reenacting and contributing to the stories of the previous groups. Via a website it will be possible to keep track of the evolving stories over time through the performances of different map-readers/actors. So even after the day of the workshop the actors will be able to see their persona growing and being reenacted by different participants.