DocPerform 3: Postdigital Call for Papers

docperform3_text_alexanderbellDocPerform 3: Postdigital
Call for papers February 2019 *Closes April 5th 2019!*

May 16th 2019
City, University of London

The DocPerform Project considers those aspects of performance that exemplify its documentary nature, alongside the associated processes of its documentation, including: creation, collection, description, organisation, discovery, access, preservation, interaction and engagement.

Our focus for this, our third symposium in the DocPerform series, is on how multisensory technologies can render our experience of newly created, recorded or archived performance, as something very close to, if not indistinguishable from, reality. To do this, we need to reach beyond the audio-visual, to embrace touch, smell and taste in both the creation of documents and in their subsequent documentation processes. We need to work with recording techniques and engagement interfaces that allow us to participate and interact with performance to the extent that the sense of immersion approaches that of reality.

We ask: To what extent can technologies facilitate postdigital experiences in performance?

Postdigital, in artistic practice, is an attitude that is more concerned with being human, than with being digital. Postdigital is concerned with our rapidly changed and changing relationships with digital technologies and art forms. (Wikipedia, 2019)

The translations, or mediators of the binaries, be they terms like multi-, inter-, or trans-, still construct a logic of the supplement that creates hierarchies that are irresolvable and false. Intermedial theatre, like multimedia before and transmedia briefly after, is a thing of the past. (Causey, 2016, p.428)

Yes, we are now in a digital age, to whatever degree our culture, infrastructure, and economy (in that order) allow us. But the really surprising changes will be elsewhere, in our lifestyle and how we collectively manage ourselves on this planet. (Negroponte, 1998, p.288)

Theories expounded by scholars such as Matthew Causey (2016), Sarah Bay-Cheng (2016), and Bill Blake (2014) signify a paradigm shift in how the digital is conceptualised, valued and, most crucially, experienced. As Blake succinctly states: ‘The digital, after all, is an ever multiplying and mostly impossible to-pin down referent, with the meanings and cultural conceptions of new media and “digital culture”, multifarious and illusive’ (ibid, p.11). As we approach the third decade of the twenty-first century, digital culture is shifting into the era of the postdigital (Causey ibid).

The postdigital resonates with Luciano Floridi’s concept of the infosphere, his term for the environment we have created where anything can be connected to anything (Floridi 2014). It denotes a way of thinking as a network, where humans experience reality as a hybrid system of diverse interfaces. Humans and machines act as communication nodes in order to de- and reconstruct reality in diverse documentary formats.

We have ceased to be amazed by the merely digital world. In our postdigital society we attempt to reassess what it means to be human, whilst at the same time acknowledging that our understanding of reality is changing. Technology is increasingly capable of presenting us with unreal reality; scripted experiences that are so close to the real thing, we struggle to distinguish the real from the fake. Successful navigation through postdigital society requires that we address how we delineate the boundaries between the real and the unreal.

As technology allows newly created and recorded experiences to become more immersive, we consider what this means for the documentation of performance.

Following the DocPerform 2: New Technologies symposium in 2017, Robinson and Dunne-Howrie (2018), envisioned immersive documents that would sustain levels of participation and interaction, alongside attempts to address the issues of temporality by recreation of time and place. These new forms of documents might also allow performances to be recorded from multiple perspectives: actor, director, playwright, lighting designer, stage manager, spectator, etc.

This presents ethical questions concerning how hierarchies’ of authorship are disrupted when the data generated by participants is used as an additional perspective of a performance.

DocPerform 3: Postdigital invites contributions which address the creation and documentation of performance related to participatory and immersive documents, networked thinking, hybrid arts practices and audience participation. We are particularly interested in exploring the technological requirements of producing an immersive document. Technologists working with VR, AR, haptic and similar (trans)mediums are invited to demonstrate how devices can be used to capture and store data.

We welcome proposals for conceptual ideas, case studies, speculations, demonstrations, workshops and performances. We envisage most sessions will run for 20 mins, but we have facilities for longer papers, workshops or installations where applicable.

Please send an abstract of up to 500 words to, and, by 5.00pm on Friday 5th April.

Proposals will be assessed by the DocPerform Team, and selected on the basis of the fit with the call, innovation, uniqueness or interest, with the intent to offer a compelling and balanced programme. The authors of successful proposals will be notified by Monday 15th April.

*The event is free to attend, however, all contributors and participants are kindly asked to register for the event.

Selected papers from DocPerform 3 will be published in a special issue of Proceedings from the Document Academy, as before: see Proceedings from DocPerform 2.

Bay-Cheng, S. (2016) Postmedia Performance. Contemporary Theatre Review, [online] 26(2). Available at: [Accessed 21 February 2019]
Blake, B. (2014) Theatre & the Digital. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
Causey, M. (2016) Postdigital Performance. Theatre Journal, 68(3), pp.427-441
Floridi, L. (2014). The Fourth Revolution. How the infosphere is reshaping human reality. Oxford University Press
Negroponte, N., 1998. Beyond digital. Wired6(12), p.288.
Robinson, L. and Dunne, J. (2018). Is the World After All Just a Dream? Proceedings from the Document Academy, 5(1). Available at: [Accessed 25 February 2019]

Original artwork by Alexander Bell cc BY-NC-SA