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UAL Research Online

Digital literacy or delicacy? Nurturing the ethics of ‘telepresence’ - in the case of ‘Synchronic Theatre' in the Global Art Joint Project 2021 ‘SOIL’

Oki, Michiko and Federica, Lippi (2021) Digital literacy or delicacy? Nurturing the ethics of ‘telepresence’ - in the case of ‘Synchronic Theatre' in the Global Art Joint Project 2021 ‘SOIL’. In: Case studies in presence and belonging in Digital Education, 15 December 2021, Online.

Type of Research: Conference, Symposium or Workshop Item
Creators: Oki, Michiko and Federica, Lippi

Since 2015, Central Saint Martins has been involved in the Global Art Joint Project, a collaborative programme with the Tokyo University of the Arts and Les Ecoles Beaux Artes Paris. This programme offers a series of interdisciplinary workshops experimenting with visual and performing arts with transcultural experience of global issues, and an integral part of the programme has been overseas travel. However, due to the pandemic and the commitment to carbon reduction that we have witnessed in recent years, overseas travel for educational purposes has become increasingly difficult. Therefore, since last year, the project has shifted to an online-based programme, exploring a new mode of creative and communicative presence at the intersection of the physical and the digital.

In this context, the Global Art Joint Project 2021, under the theme of 'Soil', envisaged a new challenge of 'Synchronic Theatre', a performative exchange in a telematic space. Three performing stages installed in three cities - Tokyo, London and Paris - were digitally mixed and overlaid to create a visual and physical synthesis as if they were in the same space. After a series of soil-themed workshops, including online lectures/discussions as well as outdoor sessions in the forest, the students created a variety of artworks, including sculptures, objects, moving images, costumes, theatre props, dances, movement, poems, etc., which were presented, performed and exchanged in the telematic platform of 'Synchronic Theatre'.

This new mode of presence in a digitally 'created' space, called 'telepresence', is what is at stake in the current educational and creative sector. ‘Telepresence' is the new ethic to which all of us artists, academics and technicians are ascribed, and which requires us to make a fundamental shift in the idea of materiality in creation - digital technology becomes a creative material in itself, intangible yet real. Technology is no longer a means to an end, but the form itself, just as paint is for painting and clay is for sculpture. In this sense, it is vital for artists to learn technology as a knowledge of artistic material, just as painters learn how to create a particular pictorial texture and mood with a particular use of paint. Acquiring a range of tools expands aesthetic possibilities.

In this presentation, we will use the case study of the Global Art Joint Project 2021 to explore the pedagogical and creative significance of technological knowledge in an age of 'telepresence'. Our provocation aims to challenge the conventional artist/technician (as well as idea/material) divide, transforming it into a speaker/interpreter relationship that bridges the gap between artistic and technical languages. To what extent should artists be aware of technical details? How can they communicate their ideas to technicians with delicacy? What is the ethical responsibility of being a 'telepresence' as an artist, technician or academic? These are the questions we would like to propose in our presentation.

Official Website: https://tle.myblog.arts.ac.uk/case-studies-presence-and-belonging/
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > Central Saint Martins
Date: 15 December 2021
Event Location: Online
Date Deposited: 11 Jan 2024 11:23
Last Modified: 11 Jan 2024 11:23
Item ID: 21008
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/21008

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