“The UpStage Situation: Mobilised!” is the title of a talk to be given by Helen Varley Jamieson, online, for the Tajrobeh Theatre Festival on Monday 28 February 2022, at 18:30 CET.
Helen will speak about We Have a Situation! as well as about her current project, Mobilise/Demobilise. Both projects use UpStage to devise and present hybrid online/offline performances that facilitate participatory networked conversions around contemporary issues such as climate change, water pollution and e-waste.
The current issue of the Portuguese online arts, culture and technology magazine Interact focuses on art, activism and digital networks and includes an article by Helen Varley Jamieson that looks at the impact and effectiveness of online activism through cyberformance.
Networked Conversations as Activism discusses the methods, processes, challenges and results of the cyberformance projects make-shift and We have a situation! Both projects facilitated networked conversations around urgent topics, between local and global, proximal and online, audiences. The article concludes that the proto-political engagement and awareness-raising achieved through these project is more impactful than comparatively passive forms of online activism such as petitions and “clicktivism”.
The chapter, written by Helen Varley Jamieson, discusses how “We have a situation!” uses cyberformance to provoke conversations around urgent contemporary issues. Through heterarchical co-creation processes and real-time online events, temporary networked communities emerge and engage in creative problem-solving. The fifth “situation,” created at Multicidade Festival in Rio de Janeiro in November 2015, addressed the problem of water pollution in the context of the approaching 2016 Olympic Games. This chapter chronicles the process of creating and presenting this event and proposes that cyberformance fosters an intimate proto-political form of online engagement as a positive alternative to increasingly commodified activism in commercialised internet spaces. The chapter concludes that networked arts projects – in social, artistic and educational contexts – have an important role to play in the post-democratic reconfiguration of civic engagement, agency and activism.
As we near the end of the workshop process for the Coventry situation, we’re huddled in little clusters around the Shop Front Theatre space – writing stories, making digital media, working with UpStage’s avatar voices, running audio and ethernet cables.