"The purpose of art is to impart the sensation of things as they are perceived and not as they are known. The technique of art is to make objects 'unfamiliar', to make forms difficult, to increase the difficulty and length of perception because the process of perception is an aesthetic end in itself and must be prolonged. Art is a way of experiencing the artfulness of an object; the object is not important."
Defamiliarization or ostranenie or estrangement, Shklovsky, "Art as Technique", 1916.

Annie Abrahams
opératrice en art


March 19 2017, at 1 p.m.
Powszechny Theatre
21 Legionow Street
91-069 Lodz

Avantgarde, theatre and all the rest
The seminar will take up the issue of the avantgarde transformation from its historical origins to the present. The participants will ask how important the Internet and cyberspace are for the theatre and performance art. Social and political potential of today’s theatre will also be discussed.

Annie Abrahams (living in France), a Dutch performance artist creating her projects on the Internet.
Grzegorz Laszuk, the leader of the formation of alternative theater Commune Otwock, nowadays – the Commune/Warsaw.
Izabella Pluta (working in Switzerland and France), a researcher on how the modern theatre is transformed under the influence of new media.
Ewa Wojtowicz, the author of books about art on the Internet and the latest artistic post-media trends.
Ryszard W. Kluszczynsk, a researcher on the contemporary art, in particular new media art.




BramTV bram.org/bramtv/

Who I am:
Biology M2 1981
Art school painting 1986
Computer use from 1993
Online from 1996 bram.org

Being Human mood mutators (1997 / 2007) – hypertext – user behaviour more important then formal multimedia qualities – performance in the public space of lonely togetherness (1998 interview avec Bertrand Gauguet)

In 2007 first online webperformance with Nicolas Frespech. One the puppet of the other. 2007 bram.org/confront/sphere/indexeng.html

Special interface development for Huis Clos / No Exit performance series in 2009. (development Clément Charmet, Estelle Senay, Ivan Chabanaud) bram.org/huisclos/indexang.html
Several performers, each in his,her own webcam station, execute a performance protocol. Their images and sounds are combined into a single video projection. From their isolated positions, scattered in space, they share a space of expression and responsibility, a playground, a laboratory.

Sometimes in mixed real and « virtual » spaces. For instance Huis Clos / No Exit - Entraînement in the Paris-Villette theater, Huis Clos / No Exit - Training for a Better World in the Centre d'Art Contemporain in Sète bram.org/huisclos/training/CRAC/indexang.html, flickr.com/photos/bramorg/sets/72157628514083331/
and Mission FCTA Faire Confiance à la Technique des Autres bram.org/mission/FCTA/index.html, flickr.com/photos/bramorg/sets/72157633082864947/

Trapped to Reveal – On webcam mediated communication and collaboration : An exposition concerning my collaborative webcam performance projects, focussing on / trying to determine the special aspects of machine mediated communication and collaboration. 2012
Article published in the Journal for Artistic Research; An online, peer-reviewed journal for the publication and discussion of artistic research. jar-online.net/index.php/issues/view/484
Direct link: researchcatalogue.net/view/18236/18237

Process based not controled – an apparatus which reveals behaviour

Angry women 4 – 5 min to 9 min vimeo.com/33498082
Angry Men …. vimeo.com/40534607 start

My performances are meeting places / places of social learning. - one sees oneself doing, while doing – to be double.

Agency Art : Agency Art is art that makes it clear to the receiver via his or her body what is at stake, where opportunities for action lie, and which virtual* behaviours he or she can actualize. It demonstrates how choices work, and how to create patterns that retain their coherence while you remain part of them and transform when you move within their field of action. (* virtual understood as potentiality, not as a quality or in a re-presentable way) Arjen Mulder 2012. THE BEAUTY OF AGENCY ART aabrahams.wordpress.com/2017/01/26/agency-art/

Agency Art doesn’t take any technology or medium as it’s starting point, but puts what these make possible in the foreground. It is art that has behavioural choices, gestures as it’s anchor points. Its meaning is the acts made possible.

My artistic work uses behaviour as it’s material and builds on an aesthetic of trust and attention. What do I mean by that?

In Being Human / Etant Humain I was more interested in creating the field, the network of choices in the html page, than in the multimedia side of it. I saw the works as low-tech mood mutators and interrogations on communication. I didn’t want the work to be immersive. In my later online performance art projects (Huis Clos / No Exit, Angry Women, besides,, Distant Feeling(s)) I use strict protocols, which strangely leave a lot of freedom to the performers, so we – and they also – can reflect on their behaviour.

So, this is risk taking, fragile technically as well as emotionally. Performances are never rehearsed.

Agency Art as formulated by Mulder uses a concept called “virtual behavioural space”. This concept is an extension of the concept of “virtual feeling” that Susanne K. Langer in «Feeling and Form» (1953) introduced. Each individual art medium evokes, manipulates and investigates “virtual feelings” in its own way.

A painting calls forth virtual depth with lines and colours; a sculpture constructs a virtual volume around itself; a novel constitutes virtual memory, tracked through virtual time. Dance follows virtual forces of attraction and repulsion. All the experiences that are part of this “feeling” are spaces of possibility, virtual feelings waiting for actualization; their nature, allurements and dangers must be studied, and art is where this investigation takes place.

Keywords: collectively made, refusing hierarchy, a knitting together of artists and performers in the moment of the event, erasure of the artistic ego, practice, changing rules, choices, connecting, accepting the unexpected, responsive, shared, collaboratively authored, open to all, working with temporal behavioral phenomena, healing, enactment, improvised, including environmental conditions, attentional strategies, instructions, protocols, apparatus, meeting, embracing the ordinary, rehearsing alternatives, re-hijacking therapy, exercising our relations to others, our social (in)capacities, exploring rituals, being together, participatory
concerns individuals and politics
Compiled from: Deufert&Plischke’s work, LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner’s HEWILLNOTDIVIDE.US, Building Conversation by Lotte van den Berg, Deep listening by Pauline Oliveros, Poietic Generator by Olivier Auber, Lingua Ignota by Samantha Gorman and Walking Practices by Ienke Kastelein. aabrahams.wordpress.com/2017/02/23/agency-art-ii/

Sometimes the audience can participate, but always they can observe the negotiations of gestures between the performers – a very intimate view of relational processes.

Distant Feeling(s) with Daniel Pinheiro and Lisa Parra bram.org/distantF/index.html
How does it feel to share an interface with eyes closed and no talking?
vimeo.com/193158145 (from 12 min)



inter - intra - action

It is all about interaction and communication. But, it is not always clear what is causing what, where the agency is – it's not between clearly distinguisable entities, but coming from within a whole, where server conditions, individual computers, webcam and sound devices, as well as the voices and images of the co-performers, local light conditions and family situations are all entangled in what Karen Barad would call the phenomenon.
Interaction might be a too straightforward term to understand and develop thinking these complex art works where behaviour plays an important role. Barad's concept of intraction might help. aabrahams.wordpress.com/2017/02/06/inter-intra-action-eng/

For Barad, things or objects do not precede their interaction, rather, ‘objects’ emerge through particular intra-actions. Thus, apparatuses, which produce phenomena, are not assemblages of humans and nonhumans (as in actor-network theory). Rather, they are the condition of possibility of ‘humans’ and ‘non-humans’, not merely as ideational concepts, but in their materiality.

besides, - on agency A project with Martina Ruhsam. (choreographer, dancer and theoricien) bram.org/besides/