The Contemporary and Digital Performance research group provides an open interactive laboratory for exploratory research in the time-based arts of theatre, performance and performance media involving a large group of research practitioners in performance, as well as the research and performing arts organizations affiliated with the activities of these practitioners.
Research in performance is rapidly expanding in the contemporary global context of the arts, sciences, education, communication/information economies and creative industries. The polycentric emphases in the new research environment rest on a distinctive trans-disciplinary vision which increasingly fuses artistic performance, writing/composition, theory and performance ethnography with digital creativity, science, and engineering.
While drama and the production of actor-based theatre continue their strong cultural tradition, other modes of performance art, cultural performance behaviour, movement and experimental theatre, camera-based performance, installation and new media/technologically augmented performances extend current practices and the scope of scholarship.
Open to partnerships in research collaboration with others in the School of Arts, the School of Engineering and Design, and institutions elsewhere in the UK and abroad, the new group's activities will foster both individual projects in performance, directing, and writing, as well as integrative design projects with real-time synthesis and digital technologies. investigating opportunities for working at the frontiers of performance and technology, where new modes of representation and interaction are invented.
Some members of the group's research group and partners seek to explore and help define the future of theatre and performance in their intersections with digital cultures, and with new media technologies and communications in the creative industries. The activities of the technology studios at the Center are also balanced by a range of non-technological practices and research interests, including body-groupd, physical work; liveness; site-specificity; audience interaction; text; place; social inquiry and new audiences.
The wider research goal is to explore the limits of physical performance, and the boundaries between digital media and embodied performance behaviour, both from an artistic and an engineering viewpoint. Combining live theatre with engineering, performance with scientific theory (in the various associations performance has made with research activity in cybernetics, AI, robotics, biology, the cognitive sciences, etc), the group will drive a series of projects over the next ten years and beyond which continue to build members' national and international relations with other research ventures into performance cultures.
The staff of the new center includes: Johannes Birringer, Thomas Betteridge, Susan Broadhurst, Broderick Chow, Steve Dixon [emeritus], Meretta Elliott, Emily Harrison, Holly Maples, Royona Mitra, Katerina Paramana, Mary Richards, Stelarc [in absentia], Fiona Temple, and Gavin Thatcher. All Phd research students in the Arts are also associated with the group and their work and activities are supported.