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Brunel University Appoints Johannes Birringer as Chair of Drama and Performance Technologies

Professor Birringer, who is also Creative Director of AlienNation Co., a Houston-based, non-profit performing arts organisation experimenting with cross-cultural ideas and multiple media, has initiated Brunel's first telematic Design and Performance Laboratory since joining the School earlier this year.

The Design and Performance Lab, which is open to postgraduate students and researchers at Brunel University, explores convergences between performance, fashion/textile design, wearable soft technologies, film/photography and interaction design.

It currently develops several prototypes of wearable interfaces (garments) which can control media output, working in collaboration with online partners in the USA, Japan, Brasil, and Italy, and with Nottingham Trent University's Fashion Department, while also aiming at knowledge transfers between the performing arts and electronics engineering research at Brunel University's BitLab.

With particular expertise in the development of new research on 'digital cultures' and network and design theory, Birringer convened the Digital Cultures Lab, a cross-cultural dance and technology workshop-festival held in Nottingham in 2005.

“We are delighted to welcome a Professor with such an extensive list of achievements, accolades and experience,“ says Professor Dixon, head of the School of Arts at Brunel. “As an expert and pioneer in the field of dance and technology, Johannes will be a source of inspiration to students across the School of Arts.“

Prior to his current role, Birringer was head of the new dance and technology programme at The Ohio State University between 1999 and 2003. Here he developed the new MFA curriculum in dance technologies, initiated the Interactive Performance Series (IPS) and conducted research in his Environments Laboratory. Since 2003, Birringer worked extensively in Europe and was Principle Research Fellow in Live Art and Performance at Nottingham Trent University.

In addition to these choreographic and digital projects, Birringer has worked as a curator, conference organiser, workshop director and consultant. He has served on various boards including the International Dance and Technology Organisation (IDAT), the National Dance Association and The Coalition for Networked Information (CNI). In 2003 he founded the Interaktionslabor Göttelborn (Germany), a research laboratory investigating interactive performance software.

Birringer achieved an M.A and Ph.D from Trier University, Germany, following graduate research fellowships at Cambridge and Yale Universities.

He has taught performance studies at Yale University, UT-Dallas, Rice University, Northwestern University and the Giessen Institute of Applied Theatre Science. Publishing widely on the visual and performing arts, his work includes Theatre, Theory, Postmodernism (1991), Media and Performance: along the border (1998) and Performance on the Edge: Transformations of Culture (2000 and 2005).

Birringer is currently a contributing editor with Performing Arts Journal (USA), Performance Research (UK), South African Theatre Journal (SA) and PADM (UK). He is also completing a new book, Dance Technologies: Digital Performance in the 21st Century.