Performance in the Digital Age: The Physical Effects of Digital Archiving

Open Access
Kauffman, Morgan McKenzie
Area of Honors:
Interdisciplinary in Theatre and Dance
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Andrew Belser, Thesis Supervisor
  • Dr. Annette McGregor, Honors Advisor
  • Elisha Clark Halpin, Thesis Supervisor
  • Performance
  • Somatic Practices
  • Digital Archiving
  • Drawing
  • Devised
Rapid developments in digital technology have dramatically affected the way humans preserve their memories. The process of archive creation, as a preservation of memory, is becoming less tactile and organic and more digital and visual. The digital nature of this new archival process is reimagining memory as infinite in capacity, eternally accessible and disembodied from the person to whom it belongs. In addition, the advent of social media has changed the process of archiving from a personal or private practice to a public or performance act done for an audience of “friends” or “followers”. Because this phenomenon has performance implications, a performance-based method of research is entirely appropriate. Modern developments in cognitive neuroscience, visual perception, along with observations of people in the act of taking photos, came together to form an investigation, which is put into action in the studio and the creation of a performance. The resulting performance installation piece Time in Motion was performed October 15th, 2016 in Penn State’s School of Theatre, and also presented March 28th, 2017 in Penn State’s Arts and Design Research Incubator. The discoveries and techniques involved in this investigation have future applications in performance training, somatic practices and the creation of modern live performance.