Probing the machine of performance art
in The machinic city
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Chapter 2 provides a detailed breakdown of the different components of A Machine To See With, categorising them as design, technology and city actants. The design actants are related to the process of planning, designing and producing the performance. This includes the locative cinema commission for the performance and the detailed production of each design component, including the narrative, the adaptation of the project to the local ‘stage’ (the city of Brighton) and the testing and promotion of the event. The analysis of the technology actants in the performance includes the infrastructure network mediating the event (including two computer servers located in different countries); the programming of the interface; the state machine, a custom piece of software that can be adapted to respond to prompts from users and computational devices. The user’s mobile phone is also discussed as a technology actant and as the point of contact between the main interface and the participant. The analysis of the city actants includes urban furniture and a BMW car that was part of a key exchange in the performance (the partnering up of participants unknown to each other). This chapter ends with a description of how the fictional narrative of the performance was successful in drawing bystanders into the performance. This is illustrated through several accounts provided by participants.

The machinic city

Media, performance and participation

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