Johannes Birringer


Chair in Drama & Performance Technologies. Research Co-ordinator

Room: Gaskell Building 105
Brunel University
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)1895 267343
Web: Personal Website


Johannes Birringer joined Brunel University's School of Arts in early 2006. He is director of the DAP-Lab and Acting Director of the newly created Centre for Contemporary and Digital Performance. He is a choreographer and media artist, and artistic director of AlienNation Co., a Houston-based multimedia ensemble that has collaborated on numerous site-specific and cross-cultural performance and installation projects since 1993. After directing international workshops on dance and technology in England, Germany, and the U.S., he was appointed head of the new dance and technology program at The Ohio State University (1999-2003) where he developed the new MFA curriculum in dance technologies and conducted research programs in his "Environments Lab." In 2003 he was appointed Principal Research Fellow in Live Art and Performance at Nottingham Trent University. In late 2005 he convened the Digital Cultures Lab, a cross-cultural dance and technology workshop-festiva, and in 2003 he founded the Interaktionslabor Goettelborn in a former Coal Mine in the Saarland, Germany. The Interaktionslabor is an annual international workshop dedicated to research, performance and software application development in interactive and networked media technologies.

His exhibition-performances and digital films have been staged in Europe, the U.S., Latin America, China and Japan. He has received numerous arts grants, awards, and fellowships for his work including a NEA/Rockefeller artists project grant in 1993. More recently, his directing projects included multi-media play Sueno, the interactive dance work Suna no Onna (London 2007-08), the digital oratorio Corpo, Carne e Espirito (Brasil 2008), and UKIYO [Moveable Worlds] (2009-2010), a choreographic installation created with artists from DAP-Lab and Tokyo/Japan.

Birringer received his M.A. and Ph.D. from Trier University (Germany) after graduate research fellowships at Cambridge and Yale Universities. He has taught performance studies at Yale University, UT-Dallas, Rice University, Northwestern University, and at the Giessen Institute of Applied Theatre Science.

Research and Teaching

Research Overview

">Johannes’s research activities include choreography and digital media, design and interactive technologies, theatre scenography, video, music and installation art, performance theory and its relations to current research in life sciences and cognitive sciences, cross-cultural collaboration.

The DAP-Lab, which he has directed since 2005, explores convergences between physical movement choreography, visual expression in dance/film/fashion, wearable design, and real-time interactive data flow environments. Participants explore the relations between design in motion, and design fabrics and performance wearables within a performance context with digital projections allowing the clothes with built-in sensors to be used for performance interaction with camera tracking and real-time data transformation (video, sound, motion graphics,). DAP-Lab involves researchers at Brunel University conjoined with telematic partner sites in the USA, Japan, Brazil and Italy, and develops prototypes of wearable garments which respond in distinct ways to body movement, camera capture, and sensory processing. Most recently, research has focused on audiophonic wearables and sonic visualization in performance. Birringer is a co-founder of ADAPT and has been working in online collaboration with live performer from multiple sites since 2001. The performance ensemble of the Lab has created online performances and large-scale dance installations.

He has published widely on the visual and performing arts and is a contributing editor with Performing Arts Journal (USA), Performance Research (UK), South African Theatre Journal (SA), PADM (UK) and BST (UK). His books include Theatre, Theory, Postmodernism (1989), Media and Performance: along the border (1998); Performance on the Edge: Transformations of Culture (2000 and 2005), and  "> Performance,  Technology, and Science  (2008).

In 2005 he co-edited Tanz im Kopf/Dance and Cognition, an anthology of new research in dance and neuroscience; and in 2011 he also co-edited Tanz und WahnSinn/Dance and ChoreoMania, an anthology on dance and madness.

Teaching Activity

Birringer’s teaching interests include performance and media arts practices, theatre and dance, scenography and digital design, and a range of theoretical and historical studies in the humanities and the performance arts. He currently directs the digital performance stream in the Theatre BA, and teaches an annual laboratory in digital technologies in the MA Performance Making along with a seminar on the history and theory of mise en scène.

More about Johannes

In August 2010, Birringer directed the "Live.Media + Performance"-Lab at EMPAC Center (Rensselaer Institute) in New York, one of the many international workshops he has offered over the past years which were dedicated to research and community development for artistic applications of new performance technologies. He is a co-producer for streaming media and DanceTV on, and coordinates the Brunel University Performance Reseach Seminar. In 2011 he coordinated the first ARTAUD Forum: The World from Within and Without, an annual workshop-conference held at Brunel’s Artaud Performance Centre;  he was recently invited to give keynote presentations at MIT Media Lab (Boston) during the conference "Dance Technology and Circulations of the Social 2.0" (April 2011) and the Baltic Movement Festival at Gdansk Poland (June 2011). His U.S.-based ensemble website is:; his German laboratory site is:; and his DAP label is at:

Research Projects

Design and Performance Lab (DAP-Lab) Telematic Performance (ADaPT) Interaktionslabor Goettelborn
Design and Performance Lab (DAP-Lab) Telematic Performance (ADaPT) Interaktionslabor Goettelborn
Digital Cultures Lab & Symposium 2005 Beijing/ Sydney/Istanbul/Oslo: emergent dance technologies
Digital Cultures Lab & Symposium 2005 Beijing/ Sydney/Istanbul/Oslo: emergent dance technologies

International Partnership Projects

TRANSNET: SCIENCE                          i-Map European Multisite Project 

Research and Performance Websites

Links to Dance and Technology Research Archive 1999-2003 (The Ohio State University)

Recent and new Productions: 

  • 2010 UKIYO II, KIBLA Media Arts Centre, Maribor (Slovenia) & London
  • 2009 Ming Yi,  Subtle Technologies Toronto
  • 2009 Auf der anderen Seite des Spiegels, Interaktionslabor Goettelborn
  • 2009 UKIYO I, Artaud Performance Center, Brunel University, London
  • 2008 Corpo, Carne e Espirito, FIT_BH Theatre Festival, Belo Horizonte, Brazil 
  • 2007-08 Suna no Onna, Laban Centre, London, Watermans Art Center, Brentford 
  • 2006-07 See you in Walhalla, IME Industrial Performign Arts Center,

AthensTheatre Festival                                          

Exhibitions and Performances (selected)

Design and Performance Lab (DAP-Lab) Director,


Wearable Futures, Newport, Wales (September 05) and Digital Cultures Lab, Nottingham (December 05)

The "emergent dress" project, developed at the DAP Lab, involves transdisciplinary intersections between fashion and live performance, interactive system architecture, electronic textiles, wearable technologies, and composition. Centered around a series of live telematic performances created with remote partners, the research project explores new ideas for sensory movement technologies and garment design in an arts and digital research context. The concept on an "evolving" garment design that is materialized (moved) in live performance originates from DAP Lab's experimentation with telematics and distributed media addressing connective tissues through a study of perception/proprioception in the wearer (tactile sensory processing) and the dancer/designer/viewer relationship. Since 2005 this exploration is conducted as cross-cultural communication with online performance partners in Europe, the US, Brazil and Japan. .

Collaborating artist and lab co-facilitator: Michèle Danjoux, Fashion (NTU / de Montfort) 

Director, Sue�o, 2003 - Mount Hall, Columbus, Ohio, USA Director,


Mount Hall, Columbus, Ohio, USA

Sueño is an interactive multimedia play that focuses on the life of 17th Century Mexican nun, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, widely known in Latin America and in Spain. Her fame stems from her voracious drive for knowledge and her exceptional genius as a writer. From her silent solitary cell, this free-thinking nun conducted scientific experiments, wrote hundreds of poems, plays, as well as theological essays. She was frequently attacked and chose to defend not only her own interest in wordly learning, but also the broad rights of women to education and a life of the mind. Written and performed by Angeles Romero and directed by Johannes Birringer, this play with interactive video and sound sculptures evokes realities in the intellectual mindspace of Sor Juana, a world that borders on a continuous sliding between concrete experiences, intellectual exercises and psychological hallucinations. Sueño mediates the actress's ability to exceed physical, spatial and temporal limitations. The crossing of filmic, theatrical and sonic spaces in the mixed reality of the performance reflects on the integration of "virtual" techniques.

Co-Designer, East by West, 2003 - Telepresent interactive installation, DEAF Rotterdam Co-Designer,
East by West


Telepresent interactive installation,
DEAF Rotterdam

East by West consists of two interactive, distributed environments constructed at opposite ends of a building and connected via live video-audio streaming. Both explore the emergence and temporal synthesis of musical, visual and kinaesthetic perceptions in two similar yet different "geographic" architectures. The synthesis underscores the experience of the visitors and their strategic play or intuitive interaction with potential games or performance environments. Both landscapes invite the visitor to explore and play with the objects in the environments. The installation was collaboratively created and designed by Johannes Birringer, Sher Doruff, and Orm Finnendahl. It was first exhibited at the Festspielhaus Hellerau, Dresden, in July 2002; a new version was featured at the 2003 Dutch Electronic Arts Festival in Rotterdam. The work explores the transformation of spatial imagination (real space as virtual space) and the experience of time and synchronicity. East by West addresses the visitors' playful fantasy and tactile exploration of the environment; the interface becomes useful if such play recognizes how parallel reality-systems can converge or affect each other, how we integrate other realities into our social experience.

Telematic multisite performance, World Wide Web Director,,
Flying Birdman

Telematic multisite performance, World Wide Web See

Telepresence integrates video, communication and network technologies into performance environments and the international co-production and project management of remote and multiple site events with streaming media, web technologies, video production and editing, transdisciplinary research, and collaborative compositional practice. Interaction between remote performance partners, as well as between programmers, engineers, and designers, has become the standard model of co-production in telepresence performance. Flying Birdman was created collaboratively online over a period of months and performed as a multisite webcast in November 2002, produced by seven teams that are part of the research group ADaPT (studios in Phoenix, Los Angeles, Detroit, Columbus, Salt Lake City, Madison, Brasilia and São Paulo). It is based on short narratives and structured spirally as a "Renga" composed of live dance, real-time audio and sound processing, precorded filmic images, still images, spoken voice, and graphic textcommunication exchanged by participants and audience during the live performance.

Books and other Publications (selected)

(see separate list)

Current Performance projects (2005-2007)

(see separate list)



Journal Papers

(2011) Birringer, J., After dance: Dissolutions and re-tracings, corpus. Magazin für Tanz, Choreografie, Performance. (2011)

(2011) Birringer, J., Dance with Camera, PAJ-A JOURNAL OF PERFORMANCE AND ART (99) : 44- 52

(2011) Birringer, J., Move: Choreographing You, PAJ-A JOURNAL OF PERFORMANCE AND ART (99) : 44- 52

(2010) Birringer, J., Moveable worlds/digital scenographies, International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media 6 (1) : 89- 107

(2010) Birringer, J. and Romero, A., Puntos de fuga (vanishing points): performance writing for the digital theatre, GRAMMA: Journal of Theory and Criticism 17

(2009) Birringer, J., La bambola di carne, Body, Space and Technology Journal 8 (1)

(2009) Birringer, J. and Danjoux, M., Wearable performance, Digital Creativity 20 (1-2) : 95- 113

(2008) Birringer, J., After choreography, Performance Research 13 (1) : 118- 122

(2008) Birringer, J., Thinking images: Paul Kaiser and Marc Downie in conversation with Johannes Birringer, PAJ: Performing Arts Journal 30 (2) : 17- 37

(2007) Birringer, J., Bodies of colour, PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art 87: 29 (3) : 35- 45

(2007) Birringer, J., Performance and science, PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art 85: 29 (1) : 22- 35

(2006) Birringer, J., Interacting, Contemporary Theatre Review 16 (4) : 389- 405

(2006) Birringer, J. and Danjoux, M., The emergent dress - transformation and intimacy in streaming media and fashion performance, Performance Research 11 (4) : 41- 52

(2004) Birringer, J., Performance review: El automóvil gris, conceived and directed by Claudio Valdés Kuri, Teatro de Ciertos Habitantes, Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, 23 October 2003, Theatre Journal 56 (3) : 479- 480

(2003) Birringer, J., A new Europe, PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art 75: 25 (3) : 26- 41

Book Chapters

(2012) Birringer, J., Bodies of colour/Media skins. In: Chatzichristodoulou, M. and Zerihan, R. eds. Intimacy: Across visceral and digital performance. Basingstoke : Palgrave Macmillan (Forthcoming) : 143- 158

(2010) Birringer, J., “Performans ve teknoloji”/”Performance and Technology,”. In: Amber 07 Body Process Arts Festival,. Istanbul (2010) : pp. 72-82/120-29 (bilingual)-

(2010) Birringer, J., Corpo, carne e espírito: musical visuality of the body. In: Freeman, J. ed. Blood, Sweat and Theory: Research Through Practice in Performance. Libri Publishing 240- 261

(2009) Birringer, J., After Bacon: the music of digital flesh and the pornography of sensation. In: Armand, L., Lewty, J. and Mitchell, A. eds. Pornotopias: Image, Apocalypse, Desire. Prague : Litteraria Pragensia 46- 60

(2009) Birringer, J., Choreographic and performance systems. In: Berg, IT. and Hansen, LA. eds. Program to Perform: Exploring Dance and New Media. Oslo : Dance Information Norway 10- 24

(2009) Birringer, J., Emergent dress in practice-as-research. In: Fuschini, L., Jones, S., Kershaw, B. and Piccini, A. eds. Performance And Screen. Palgrave Macmillan

(2008) Birringer, J. and Danjoux, M., Wearables in performance. In: McCann, J. and Bryson, D. eds. Smart Clothes and Wearable Technology. Cambridge : Woodhead Publications 388- 419


(2011) Birringer, J. and Fenger, J., Tanz und wahnsinn / Dance and choreomania. Henschel Verlag

(2009) Birringer, J., Performance, technology, and science. Paj Pubn

(2008) Birringer, J., Performance, technology, and science. PAJ Publications

(2005) Birringer, J. and Fenger, J., Tanz im kopf: dance and cognition. LIT Verlag

Page last updated: Wednesday 30 October 2013