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A Panel Discussion on The Future of #DigitalPerformance

Posted on November 21st, 2015

Volumetric Society of NY

11/20/2015 @Westbeth Gallery, 155 Bank St, NY

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The Westbeth Galley, which displays art incorporating digital technology, hosted a discussion on the future of images and other digital media in performing arts. The panelists had a range of backgrounds and current uses of digital presentations.


Mark Coniglio  – Creator of Isadora Software, Co-Founder, Troika Ranch

Wendall K. Harrington – theatre and production design, Assistant Professor, Yale School of Drama

Jared Mezzocchi – Award winning multi-media theatre director and designer, designer, Assistant Professor University of Maryland

Maya Ciarrocchi – Interdisciplinary Artist

Kevin Cunningham – Director 3 Legged Dog Theatre

Moderator: Andrew Scoville – Brooklyn based theater director focusing on developing new work that merges science and performance

Several themes were explored by the panelists.

  1. The inclusion of alternative or digital content in performances should push the main ideas forward and needs to be consistent with the other parts of the program as if it was just another performer/actor/musician in the ensemble
  2. One needs to express the idea before thinking of technology. Make sure that technology is not attached at the end. It should be given time within rehearsals to grow. If possible avoid the word “digital” as it artificially divides you and the rest of the creative team.
  3. The artist needs to intuit the director’s vision and present what is needed not what is requested.
  4. Flash may be easier with digital media, but the goal is still to give the audience a new experience so they have a chance to grow. The goal is still to tell a story and give a memorable experience.
  5. Creative tension is important as it is in all artistic ventures.

The panelists also mentioned digits works that they considered unusually immersive or interesting.

  1. Daito Manabe (Rhizomatiks) puts his experimental videos online. He has a series in which he electrically stimulates his face. He also has videos with dancers interacting with lights and drones and robots.
  2. Tod Machover and the MIT media lab worked on a glove and other interactive instruments.
  3. Luke DuBois drew a map of the U.S. with cities identified by the most used words on the dating sites for people in those cities.
  4. Audience participation at ”danger parties”.
  5. On commercial side there is a call to make it immersive which can only be done with digital technology: “Charlie Victor Romeo”.


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