Performative Topologies

With Performative Topologies I introduce an ephemeral Diagrammatic Instrument. Prepared verbal prompts shape an interaction between several participants and a facilitator. The process is structured around open sharing of the memory of a meaningful object, and shifting between modes of engaging with this memory, individually and as a group. This generates personal movement sequences that are paired with a feedback projection, topologically modified 360-degree video streaming in real time. As particpiants jointly iterate their movements, attention doubles, performing and observing.

Performative Topologies was one of the Diagrammatic Instruments part of the 'Membrane' exhibition in Berlin. Workshops were open to the public, facilitated in part by Joseph Lefthand, Vero d. Orozco and Caroline Kawen Ng, who had participated in creating the instrument in Chicago. Further developed at the Bauhaus University Weimar, students involved there included Sarah Hermanutz, Maud Canisius, Ruo-Jin Yen, Vanessa Engelmann and Sandra Anhalt, who contributed as well.

Robert Woodley, who designed the software, drove the projection, and also recorded and manipulated the first Performative Topologies workshop. This video was continuously projected in the gallery throughout the show. In addition, four monitors played videos of Performative Topologies performances by Chicago and Weimar contributors, recorded in iconic spaces in both locations, and digitally manipulated as well.
The screenshot above is from a Performative Topologies performance recorded in the van de Velde staircase in the main building of the Bauhaus. An associated sound track created by Weimar seminar participant Sandra Anhalt was looped and played permanently, keeping the Performative Topologies performers' steps in the space, even in the absence of events.

This screenshot is from a performance in the Chicago Cultural Center Rotunda. A video sampler with excerpts of all videos is here. The second part of this online essay discusses the Performative Topologies instrument and also includes video examples. You can access this text from 2021 through academic libraries.
Before we took it to Berlin, a version of Performative Topologies was deployed at the Hyde Park Art Center Gala, Chicago, in November 2018, facilitated by Vero D. Orozco, Joseph Lefthand, Caroline Kawen Ng and Giannella Tavano. Robert Woodley VJ'd the event.
Many guests participated. Feedback was that in the middle of the party mood, something meaningful had transpired.