Operative Performances


Operative Performances is a project by
Mikala Hyldig Dal, Daniel Franke, Kai Kreuzmüller, John McKiernan

1-Night Werkschau: “ctrl alt ESCAPE”: 13. May 2011

The Berlin based media art collective weareChopChop and LEAP collaborated with invited media- and performance artists on exploring strategies of digital resistance. The outcome of our workshop takes the form of an interactive sculpture incorporating dance, theater, video and creative programming. The topic of this workshop was “ctrl alt ESCAPE”.


Participating Artists & Scholars:

Prokop Bartonicek
Francesca Romana Ciardi
Daniel Franke
Baruch Gottlieb
Modjgan Hashemian
Mikala Hyldig Dal
Meredith Nadler
Brina Stinehelfer
Santiago Taccetti


Operative Performance - “ctrl alt ESCAPE”

Our workshop title was deducted from the keyboard short cut used to force-quit a computing process gone unresponsive or awry. For us it serves as a metaphor for an obstruction, a subversion or an intervention into digitally-based data-distribution systems moving towards unrestricted information flows, opaque recycling of (personal) data and monopolistic market dominators.

In a software related context the „reboot“ command (Windows: ctrl alt del / Mac: cmd alt esc) that requests the system to terminate itself can be seen as expressing a paradox as one might deduct: “If self-termination is an implicit quality of the system itself, is our agency then merely an expression of that very system?”

We ask:
- Is actual resistance possible under the given circumstances? Are strategies of digital resistance or resistance towards the digital better suited?


-What role does the body play in a system without touch? How do we render the workings of virtual systems tangible in real space? Which problematics and which potential can we locate in the contact area of the body and its
virtual extension?

A central question to us is how we can interact with the complex mediated processes that determine the exchange of data, their re-contextualization and digital representational strategies and thus significantly informing society today. The processes in question take place mostly with little regard to questions of ethics, or in a wider range-of philosophy; we want to connect the topic of The Personal and The Body with (www-orientated) questions of data recycling, image domination, copyright and market. In doing so, we attempt to track the discourse from the virtual back to actual bodies – presenting our artistic output in a medial set-up of bodies performing within spaces that merge characteristics of the virtual with the real.

Implicit to our title is the central imperative of examining if and how it is possible to tamper with, extend, reverse or terminate the digital processes that determine how we are being (re)presented, perceived and ultimately- who we end up being. Into the discourse we want to intertwine a broader set of associations including subversive systems,
semiotics/linguistics/language/code, simulation, inter face, behavioral patterns,representational critique, image storm / Bilderflut, market dynamics, oppression,escapism, freedom fighter, piracy, Control – regaining it, reclaiming it, tracing its limits.

We invited media- software- and performance artists to participate in a 1-week workshop and work presentation with the title “ctrl alt ESCAPE”; to explore the topic of “digital resistance” and develop a line of tools aimed at the subversion of information power structures through digital intervention.

The invited artists formed 5 groups pairing performance artists and media/sound artists. Each artist group prepare a“staging” – a performance with a medial overlay at LEAP.

Operative Performance is aimed at connecting the fields of media and performance art in workshops exploring the
relationship between new media technologies and the body in a setting incorporating political and academic
perspectives on the subject.



Prokop Bartonicek, Daniel Franke. Performance by Brina Stinehelfer

OPERATIVE PERFORMANCES - ctrl alt ESCAPE / "Alternate" (Prokop Bartonicek, Daniel Franke. Performance by Brina Stinehelfer)

Prokop Bartonicek, Daniel Franke. Performance by Brina Stinehelfer

OPERATIVE PERFORMANCES - ctrl alt ESCAPE / "Alternate" (Prokop Bartonicek, Daniel Franke. Performance by Brina Stinehelfer)

Francesca Romana Ciardi, Mikala Hyldig Dal, Baruch Gottlieb

OPERATIVE PERFORMANCES - ctrl alt ESCAPE / "Eyespeakers" (Francesca Romana Ciardi, Mikala Hyldig Dal, Baruch Gottlieb)