Lauren McCarthy
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Wednesdays, 12:10–2:40 PM
NYU ITP, Room 445

Course Description

How do the technologies we use on a daily basis choreograph our actions, cause us to perform, and open spaces for improvisation? What are the ways we perform for each other, and how do the internet, mobile phones, and other networked technologies create new performance sites and possibilities?

The course will be structured around a series of performance assignments or “studies”, requiring students to perform with physical hardware, on the internet, via telepresence, and in collaboration with a crowd. An important part of the course will be learning to critique each other’s work constructivelyexperiencing with an open mind, and thoughtfully and articulately responding.

The performance activities will be supplemented with study of prior performance art engaging technology, short readings, and technical workshops. The workshops will introduce technical tools the students may choose to incorporate into their work, such as IFTTT, Twitter bots, WebRTC, and Mechanical Turk. However, the focus will be on considering the context, function, and meaning of these technologies and translating this into novel ways of performing with them.

No technical experience is required, though students may incorporate existing skills into their work. A desire to take risks and step outside of one’s comfort zone is necessary.


You will be expected to actively participate in class dialogues, critiques, and the presentation of new studies. For this class, each study should be no longer than 5 minutes and any media can be used to present to the class (from video to live).

The grading is based on the performed studies, and on the participant’s preparation and active participation during the class meetings. Evaluation will also consider the individual’s development and process over time based on the accumulation of the studies and journal posts.

Attendance at all sessions is required, students are responsible for contacting instructors if extenuating circumstances arise to arrange to make up the missed session. More than two absences excused or otherwise, or the failure to complete one of the studies will result in a failing grade.

60% studies
15% final performance
25% participation/preparation


All readings will be emailed out so you do not need to purchase any books. However, if you would like to purchase any books, the following may be of interest to you:

Radical Street Performance, edited by Jan Cohen-Cruz
The New Media Reader, edited by Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Nick Montfort
Participation: Documents of Contemporary Art, edited by Claire Bishop
The Electronic Disturbance, Critical Art Ensemble
The Twentieth Century Performance Reader, edited by Teresa Brayshaw and Noel Witts
Performance Art: From Futurism to the Present, RoseLee Goldberg
Scenarios: Scripts to Perform, Richard Kostelanetz