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Drama Department

Exciting experimental installation-performance


Posted on 24 April 2009

Since time immemorial humankind has tried to establish its place and reason for existence in time and space. But the notion of tempero-spatial reality, like the proverbial mat, has been pulled from under our feet. Introducing: cyberspace, the internet, alternative realities and existence.

UP Drama proudly presents

owner’s MANual to conSEXtualisation

We have long since moved into the realm of cyberspace as a cultural phenomenon. We are exploring bulletin boards (BBS), chat rooms, multi-user domains (MUDs)/dungeons, etc. as technocultural constructions. So, as well as thinking about the hardware (machines), software (programs) and wetware (humans) we consider the place of imagination and representation within these cybercultural formations.

To complicate the image of the human being, we are perceived as sexual beings (it used to be seen as simplification – eat and re-produce!). Since the early 1990’s hard-won successes led to the interrogation of, and interface between straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer studies. The participants in the virtual environment and cyber formations find in these spaces an opportunity to speak of (and to) bodies commonly marginalized or rendered completely invisible in the off-line media – to speak to the obese body, to speak of the hairy body, to speak of the older body, and to speak to the perfect body.

This sounds like pornography – and to a certain extent it is. Porn is everywhere: from the suggestiveness of music videos to the explicit discussions of popular magazines; from the erotica of advertising to the refashioning of sex acts into art works; from a small garage industry to an internet empire. We may as well speak of the pornification of everyday life!
All of these notions will be explored in a new and exciting installation-performance developed by the University of Pretoria’s Drama Department: owner’s MANual to conSExtualisation.

By means of online and offline performances within the production, (online) gay spaces will be examined. The emphasis is on the manner in which gay men inhabit these spaces to foreground, affirm and assert constructions of masculinity and sexual identity through digital interactions.

The design of the production will allow the audience to become part of the narratives, with emphasis on isolation by physical (or in this case, offline) space(s). The main focus area will be the computer screens (online space) in front of each section of audience. By using a narrator that transcends both online and offline space, incorporating cameras focussed on the audience and placing keyboards within the audiences’ spaces, the audience will be able to interact with the digital personas that makes them a part of the construction process.

The production is presented by The University of Pretoria Drama Department, and supported by UP Arts and the Department of Information Technology.

Please come and engage in this theatrical / digital experiment with us at the UP Arts Masker Theatre, from 28 April to 2 May 2009 at 19:00.

Bookings with Marielle at (012) 420 3644 or production@postino.up.ac.za. Tickets cost R30-00 for adults, R25.00 for students, and R20-00 for block bookings of more than 10. Note that due to the sensitive nature of material included in the performance, there will be a strict age restriction of 18, concerning sex, nudity and language.

(Link to teaser: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXxK2debT5s)



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