Cybershaman Project

Initiation of the

Cyber-Shaman”

trans-media project.

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Areas of interest.

I will be exploring improvised performance as response to environment, and digitally mediated environmental activism, by creating impromptu ‘rituals’, on site and in response to inspiration drawn from the site itself. These responses will be shared as virtual artefacts through recording and dissemination in various digital mediums. Locations will be chosen for this type of performance based on proposed human/industrial intervention which could seriously disrupt existing and sensitive ecological systems ,or disturb areas of historic, or cultural significance. Methods being researched in the development of this project include ancient ritual performance practices such as those found in traditional shamanism, “Shamanism is not only concerned with the health of the individual, but also with the health of the entire community. This includes all people, plants, animals and all of life.” Secunda, B. (2014). Contemporary practices, including improvised performance, are being incorporated. Technical methods, including multimedia digital recording, and publication, of both the performances themselves, and of the environments they are responding to, will be applied.

Rationale.

A look at the history of environmental activists working in conjunction with creative and performing artists to produce recorded media, shows that public perceptions can be shifted in regard to potential outcomes on specific sites and issues DeLuca, K.M. (1999) pp.52-60. The proposed methodology, and outcomes, for this project aim to become a subtle yet powerful adjunct to existing forms of digitally mediated environmental activism “online activity can lead to offline activity for people who are motivated already, but who may not be aware of an issue. Their main barrier to becoming an activist was knowledge White, A (2013)”. This project aims to develop replicable practices which can be implemented by anyone, on any site that they have assessed as a viable candidate for such action. Proposed outcomes for this project in the extended term also include providing inspiration for “approaching environmental activism from a place that is positive, inspirational, and unique (as opposed to being dire, depressing, and repetitious like many environmental debates are these days)” Hoyt, K (2012). A good example of this approach being applied is the current blockade of coal seam gas drilling sites in Northern NSW.

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Relevant Experiences.

The project will provide experiences in research, planning, and implementation of digital media design, and production techniques, leading to the deployment of live, interactive, and static, web media presentation of produced materials. The field work will involve collaborators on the day. I will be directing the overall media recording activities, and doing the post production work for presentation. The work will also be extensible, allowing for continuation of the project in to other forms of media after the assessment time line is over.

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Case studies for practice precedents.

Fluid Data project, produced by the co-artistic directors of IGNEOUS, Suzon Fuks and James Cunningham, inspires the methodology being employed as a set of guiding practice principles for the collection of digital assets relevant to this project. My proposed improvised performance practice aligns with what is being described by Susan Sgorbati (2005) of Emergent Improvisation as “A multidimensionality of focus … where attention is placed on both an interior and exterior sense of time and space.” Shamanism informs the practice in a way that among “ … some of the Australian Aboriginal peoples … is known as ‘dadirri,’ a term that literally translates into English as ‘deep listening’ ” Ingerman, S. & Wasselman, H. (2010), to which I would add the extended concept of ‘deep perceiving’, as a fuller description of the multi-sensory nature of the practice. The practice is entered in to with the understanding that “Aboriginals believe there is a “oneness of person, body, spirit, ghost, shadow, name, spirit site and totem” (35).” and that “ The Dreamtime is not an historic event. It corresponds to the whole of reality (34, p.26)” AIPR (2002). The state entered during a performance is trance-like, and receptive to subtle cues from the environment across a spectrum of perceivable phenomena.

fluidData

References:

AIPR, Australian Institute of Parapsychologial Research 2002, Information Sheet: Psychic and Mystical Experiences of the Aborigines, viewed 14th April 2014, <http://aiprinc.org/aborig.asp&gt;

DeLuca, Kevin Michael 1999, Image politics: the new rhetoric of environmental activism, Guildford Press, New York, viewed 13thApril 2014, <http://books.google.com.au/bookshl=en&lr=&id=1tCUQXgAJhoC&oi=fnd&pg=PP2&dq=environmental+activism+art&ots=ec2a8DOV9S&sig=wvsxqz8h7gORiOVJW_ov4XJ3R2I#v=onepage&q=environmental%20activism%20art&f=false&gt;

Fuks, Susan and Cunningham, James 2014, Fluid Data, Igneous, viewed 27th March 2014, <http://igneous.org.au/&gt;

Hoyt, Kristopher 2012, Activist art or useless abstraction?, The Culture/Nature/Society Blog, 22nd July, viewed 12th April 2014, <http://www.kristoferhoyt.com/2012/07/22/121/>

Ingerman, Sandra and Wasselman, Hank 2010, Awakening to the spirit world, Sounds True Press, and, Australian aboriginal wisdom, Shared Wisdom, viewed 15th April 2014, <http://www.sharedwisdom.com/article/australian-aboriginal-wisdom&gt;

Scorbati, Susan 2005, Emergent Improvisation, viewed 9th April 2014, <http://emergentimprovisation.org/solo.html><http://emergentimprovisation.org/essay.html&gt;

Secunda, Brandt 2014, 2014, What is Shamanism?,Dance of the Deer Foundation Centre for Shamanic Studies, viewed 13th April 2014, <http://www.shamanism.com/what-is-shamanism/&gt;

White, Alex 2013, Can online environmental activism deliver change offline?, Southern Crossroads Blog, The Guardian, 7th June, viewed 12th April 2014, <http://www.theguardian.com/environment/southern-crossroads/2013/jun/07/online-environmental-activism-offline-change-clicktivism&gt;

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