Undergraduate Degree




DA9005 Open Source Studio: Media & Performance

[Studio Contact Hours: 39 hours; Pre-requisites:Nil; Academic Unit: 3.0]




Academic Unit


3 AU

Course Description


Learning Objective

The objective of DA9005 Open Source Studio: Media & Performance is to develop critical and artistic skills for the interpretation and creation of performance art that incorporates electronic media and non-traditional theatrical techniques. Through readings, lectures, performance projects, and the critique of related work, students are exposed to the aesthetic, historical, social, cultural, and technological issues inherent in the medium of performance.


This online course explores the emerging paradigms of performance art that engages live media. There will be a historical overview of performance dating back to the 1960s through an intensive study of seminal projects by pioneering artists involved in Happenings, electronic theater and other mixed-media forms. Students will create performance projects that engage new media for both physical and virtual spaces. Visiting artists will remotely present their work using a variety of communications techniques relevant to the course. The objective of the course is to investigate critical concepts and fundamental artistic concerns inherent in live media and its use in performance through readings, lectures, and the critique of related artworks, and apply these concepts to the creation of new work. Projects may be individual or collaborative, with a live Internet broadcasted exhibition at the close of the semester.

Course Outline




Introduction: Introduction to Issues in Interaction: Performance & Media. We will overview the course content, syllabus, topics, course Website, and methodologies used in this online course. We will establish accounts in Wordpress and other Net tools, discuss blog writin​g, online discussion, and social media integration.


The Happening & Other Seminal Forms: An overview of the theatrical and mixed-media forms from the 1960s, most notably the artists who pioneered the form of the Happening: Allan Kaprow, Jim Dine, Claes Oldenburg, and Robert Whitman. We will review strategies used by the early performance artists for media integration, audience participation, unscripted events, and the organization and manipulation of theatrical space.


Networked Performance & its Origins: A history of performance that engages viewers and performers at a distance. This will include satellite projects, television broadcasts, and other early forms of Internet-based performance that involved musicians, actors, dancers, and other performing and visual artists.


Re-envisioning the Space: A study of spatial configurations for performance, from works that re-examine the proscenium of the theatre, to performances that take places in galleries and other non-traditional spaces. We will also look at the use of projections for remapping the performance space, how video and sound can be used to extend and transform conventional forms of theatrical space.


The Body as Instrument: A look at historical and contemporary forms of performance focusing on how the body can be used in multiple ways as subject matter, social commentary, and sculptural form. This will include the use of interactive media that extends the performer’s movement and gesture to visual and audio media.


Critique of the Project Hyperessay: Mid-semester completion and presentation of the midterm project.


Site-specific Performance: A consideration of performance that relocates the work to outdoor and public spaces in order to engage the viewer in non-traditional ways. How artists incorporate the environment, objects, architectures, and other site-specific elements into their work, and to engage social and cultural concerns.


Blurring the Real & the Virtual: We will look at the integration of physical and virtual spaces to demonstrate how media can be used to dissolve the distinction between the concrete and the ephemeral, between performers and media, and between the live and the pre-recorded.


Location, Distribution, & Mobility: An investigation of how performance can take place in multiple locations simultaneously through the use of mobile devices and streaming technologies. Through these telematic connections, we will explore how artists have collaged location in space and time.


The Live Remix: Strategies for using software and hardware systems that enable real-time performance and the live recombination of media elements. Using laptops and other mobile devices, we will look at contemporary works that involve appropriation, live cameras, and other means to create projected works that involve real-time forms of manipulation and collage.


Final Project Discussion: Review of final projects; and

Final Project Critique: Presentation of final projects.

Learning Outcome

On successful completion of the course students will have a new understanding of the medium of performance and its incorporation of electronic media. Students will gain an in-depth understanding of the conceptual, aesthetic and technological skills required to create performance art that draws from digital media, communications, interactivity, video, sound, etc., as well as a deep understanding of both historical precedents and contemporary work.

On an institutional level, the online course will help the School of Art, Design and Media evaluate the experience of online learning for studio practice. This is meant to facilitate a dialogue within the institution regarding new techniques in online creative production and teaching. The dialogue will be supported by empirical evidence from student evaluations and a final assessment from the instructor..

Student Assessment

  1. Micro-projects: 15%

  2. Project Hyperessay: 25%

  3. Final Project: 35%

  4. Class participation: 10%

  5. Discussion Forum: 15%

Note: Since this is an online class, nomenclature used vary from a live studio or class. In an online forum, there could be students from other institutions joining in.


Suggested Reading:

  1. Ascott, R. “Is There Love in the Telematic Embrace” in Packer, R., & Jordan, K. (Eds.). Multimedia : from Wagner to Virtual Reality ([Expanded ed.). New York: Norton, 2002

  2. Cage, J. “Diary: Audience” in Packer, R., & Jordan, K. (Eds.). Multimedia : from Wagner to Virtual Reality ([Expanded ed.). New York: Norton

  3. Kaprow, A. (2002). “Untitled Guidelines for Happenings,” in Packer, R., & Jordan, K. (Eds.). Multimedia : from Wagner to Virtual Reality ([Expanded ed.). New York: Norton, 2002

  4. Vibeke Sorensen, Global Visual Music Jam Project, MIT Press, 2005

  5. Steve Dixon, Cyborg, Online Performance: “Live” from Cyberspace, Digital Performance, 2007

  6. Kostelanetz, R, The Theatre of Mixed Means, An Introduction to Happenings, Kinetic Environments and Other Mixed-Means Presentations, RK Editions, 1980

  7. Goldberg, R, Live Art 1909 to the Present, Harry N. Abrams, 1979

  8. Birringer, J, Media & Performance: Along the Border, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998

  9. Shaw, J & Weibel, P, The Cinematic Imaginary After Film, “The Pepsi Pavilion: Laboratory for Social Experimentation,” Randall Packer, MIT Press, 2003  

  10. Sida Vaidhyanathan, “Open Source as Culture/Culture as Open Source,” Michael Mandiberg, The Social Media Reader, NYU Press 2012

  11. Mark Amerika, RemixtheBook, University of Minnesota Press, 2011

  12. Sherry Turkle, “Growing up Tethered,” Alone Together, Basic Book, 2011

  13. Annie Abrahams, Trapped to Reveal – On Webcam mediated communication and collaboration, Research Catalogue, 2012