Autumnal Gusts Blow in Networked Collaboration


As the weather outside becomes a bit more nippy, this moment of seasonal change proves ripe for collaboration over the wires (i.e. from a nice indoor space). This was, in part, the inspiration for a new online, networked performance by UK artists Patrick Simons and Kate Southworth (of Glorious Ninth) and their collaborators Ruth Catlow and Marc Garrett (of Furtherfield). Documentation of their piece, which employed peer-to-peer instant messaging software and audio/visual exchange, via webcam, will launch exactly nine minutes and forty-one seconds before midnight (at 23:51:19 GMT, as determined by the length of the piece), on 31st October 2006. The performance consisted of a braiding together of spontaneous and premeditated actions, such as reading from texts, listening, and improvised speech. The result was a product informed by the risk of dissolution, a competition between voices, and an unrehearsed collective construction of tempo and rhythm. The artists invite online viewers to 'join us as we cast out the stale air of the fading summer and move together into winter. Celebrating Halloween and the changing of the season, we come together online to exchange our collected thoughts across the Internet whilst each eating garlic cloves.' Thankfully breath has yet to be transmitted online. - Elizabeth Johnston