Resonance, Inspiration and Resolution:
A platform through the Lens of Performance Art
Following the Covid-19 lockdown, the online platform Zoom has quickly pervaded our lives, allowing us to carry on with our jobs as teachers and practitioners while reshaping education and culture. Like many others, I have been catapulted into the Zoom-world, unprepared. What does this remote-teaching experience feel like to me? Which kind of experience I am performing, and which kind of performance am I subject to?
This paper presents an autoethnographic study on the Zoom online platform from my perspective as a lecturer and artist, through the performance art lens. I discuss the ‘Zoom function’ as a process, namely, how it operates in terms of space, time, and bodies involved, reconfiguring the relationships between the participants.
I draw lessons from my own artistic practice (The Foreigner), Joseph Beuys’ I like America and America Likes Me, and Stelarc’s Suspensions and Ear on Arm to examine my experience with Zoom and meet its challenges. I focus on four aspects: isolation and the lack of physical proximity, vulnerability, the out-of-sync time/space, and the human relationship with virtuality and devices. The performing body emerges as both the struggling place in which the Zoom and isolation narrative inscribes, and the alive element from which solutions and potentialities arise. I conduct my investigation according to two main tangents: resonance, inspiration and resolution. Resonance means that an artwork resonates to mine and others’ feelings about the Zoom experience. Inspiration consists of the approach characterising an artistic action that I can apply to my own Zoom-experience to cope with it and improve it. By combining self-observation and reflection with collected data, in conjunction with performance practices and art history, I reflected on how it feels to be a teacher and a practitioner in 2020.
Dr Angela Viora is an Italian artist and scholar whose core practice is performance art. She investigates how performance art operates in the world by analysing the process of site-specific, durational, and participatory performances.
An expat obsessed with the humans-space relationship and the socio-political aspect of art, Angela researches on migration and mobility, identity and sense of belonging, through a transcultural and phenomenological approach. Angela has performed, exhibited, and presented her work internationally, including at BOAA – Biennale of Australian Art, Daegu Art Factory (SK), Performance Studies International Conference, the MAXXI Museum in Rome (IT), and the 12th Istanbul Biennial (TK). She has published her research internationally on performance and public art, documentation and audience reception (Performing Ethos UK, Performance Research Journal UK, Arte, Architettura e Paesaggio IT).