Acting technology: Media technology as actor, the actor as media technology, and Big Art Group's vibrant assemblage
Sekellick, Matthew John Clinton
MetadataShow full item record
Drawing on the work of Jane Bennett, this thesis argues for an object oriented ontology of the theater where everything has a vitality. Specifically, I argue for an understanding of technology as actors and of actors as technology in the work of Big Art Group. I point to digital holographic performance, which, through effective theatrical illusions, destabilizes any binary remaining between the "live" and the "dead," or mediatized, on stage. This further troubles the ontological status of live presence, to which I suggest Bennett's vital materialism as an alternative. I perform a close reading of the definitions of "medium" and "technology," laying out a theoretical case for actors as one technological thing amongst others within the theatrical frame. I read the media heavy theater of Big Art Group and their Real Time Film technique as a technological theatrical assemblage. I discuss how machines and human actors alike work as technologized actors in their plays Flicker, Shelf Life , and SOS . In contemporary, mediatized contexts, all stage actors can perhaps be understood as technological mediums. I argue for reading actors as technological things and technological things as actors, finding unexpected qualities shared between them, which opens up room for new ways of thinking about and making performance, as evidenced in the work of Big Art Group.