Paula Crutchlow and Helen Varley Jamieson

Independent artists/researchers.

Keywords: networked, cyberformance, distributed, event, make-shift, UpStage

[video — runtime: 33:25]


make-shift ( is a long-running networked performance series (2010-2012) that dramatises and problematises the private actions of our domestic lives in relation to ecological themes of plastic marine pollution. Each event is telematically located between two ordinary houses (usually in different countries) and an online performance space1 accessible to anyone with a broadband connection. We (Helen and Paula, one in each house) work with proximal2 and online participants to collaboratively 'stage' the work. Moments of scripted and visually poetic performance are interspersed with webcam videography, digital imagery, avatar puppetry and online chat. Intermedial performance modes integrate with open systems of interaction to engage proximal and online participants in a discursive co-authorship that both frames and questions issues surrounding consumption and disposal in late-capitalism. Small groups (usually 8-12 people at each house, plus online participants) are essential to the conversational unfolding of the work across the three spaces. This intimacy enables a sense of temporary community which is also an active negotiation of difference; alongside the socio-political content a space opens up in which audiences can think deeply, discuss, and shift their perceptions about local-global relationships, experiencing a sense of connection which leaves physical and virtual traces.

» download essay [pdf]

Paula Crutchlow is a performance maker and director who co-authors live events across a variety of forms. Paula is currently the Artistic Adviser for Adverse Camber directing work with some of the UK's leading storytellers. She is currently studying for an MRes/PhD in Critical Human Geographies at the University of Exeter.

Helen Varley Jamieson is a writer, theatre practitioner and digital artist from New Zealand, currently based in Germany. She is a founding member of the globally-dispersed cyberformance troupe Avatar Body Collision, and an instigator and co-coordinator of UpStage, an open source web-based platform for cyberformance.

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