Broken Spaces 1998 + 1999

Broken Spaces was a collaborative project between doppio-parallelo Rosebud (the Ngapartji Narrative and Interactivity Research Project), the Media Resource Centre, and ANAT. In 1998, doppio-parallelo conceived a performance project designed to address issues around youth, identity and ethnicity. A writer was commissioned to write a script which was then performed in a live context. The performance concerned questions of self-identity and the perception of others.

In preparation for the performance component of the project, research was required on how interactive technology can serve to enhance the experience of multiple perceptions. The research phase of Broken Spaces was intended to provide advice and guidance for incorporating digital interactivity into a live theatrical performance.

Samara Mitchell undertook this research and assisted ANAT’s Information Officer, Honor Harger with the development and implementation of a research strategy for the project over 1998 and 1999. Martin Thompson, ANAT’s Web and Technical Officer, provided technical advice and assistance.

The preliminary stage of the research comprised three phases; i) studies  in web-based writing practices; ii) multi-user text based online spaces; and iii) the examining the development of multimedia technologies for interactive performance. These three phases were informed by ongoing parallel inquiry into the theoretical and technical basis of the development of online performance practices, and how these practices relate to existing performance methodology.

Phase i) of the research phase of Broken Spaces examined interactivity within writing practices, and looked at online technologies and techniques, such as hypertext and hypermedia, exploring artists’ and writers’ responses to the online environment. Phase ii) of the research shifted the focus to multi-user text-based online spaces (MOOs, MUDDs, IRCs),and analysed the
evolution of simple text-based online software, and the development of text-based performance spaces.

The premise of this part of the research was to examine concepts of public access and interactivity in early MUDD and IRC models, and interrogate notions of character and identity within collaborative online spaces. This phase also examined how performance writing can be represented on the two dimensional plane of the computer monitor.

Phase iii) of the preliminary research analysed how technologies such as CUSeeMe, Real Audio / Video and other multimedia packages have informed and impacted on performance in digital space. Intensive practical and theoretical workshop sessions with doppio-para//elo and Rosebud ensured that research was presented to the collaborative partners of the project.

In 1999 ANAT will conclude the Broken Spaces research and investigate avenues of publishing the findings of the project.

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