Call and response: Towards a digital dramaturgy

Critical Writing
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Abstract (in English): 

In support of their belief that the truest test of a methodology is to apply it to a new set of questions/practices, Barbara Bridger and J.R. Carpenter embark on a conversation about Carpenter’s computer-­generated dialogue: TRAINS.MISSION [A.DIALOGUE]. As they attempt to find language appropriate to an extended notion of dramaturgy capable of both contributing to and critiquing a digital literary practice, their calls and responses to one another come to perform the form and content of the dialogue in question. The resulting discussion provides an example of putting performance writing methodology into practice.

Pull Quotes: 


Perhaps the truest test of a methodology is to apply it to a new set of questions/practices. From the outset, Performance Writing recognized that one of the areas of its investigation would be the impact of the digital on the creation and display of writing.


And perhaps Performance Writing’s insistence on the active participation of language in the formation of meaning can contribute to the development of a dramaturgical practice capable of moving beyond traditional engagement with research, documentation and scripting and into a more integrated, generative role? I was asking this question and I was looking for something…. for some link… for a practice that spoke differently to these elements and this meant that I was more than ready for a particular conversation with JR Carpenter.


JR was describing a project she was working on called TRANS.MISSION [A.DIALOGUE] – a computer-generated dialogue, written in a programming language called JavaScript which, she said, generated a script for a poli-vocal performance. Listening to her description, I realized two things: one - that she was interpreting the word ‘script’ in a way that I had not considered before, and two - that my ‘expanded’ definition of dramaturgy might also encompass digital textual practices. I began to attempt a dramaturgical response.

Events referenced:

Title Date Location
PW12 Performance Writing Weekend 04.05.2012
Arnolfini Bristol
United Kingdom
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J. R. Carpenter