121212 UpStage Festival of Cyberformance

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Country and Region New ZealandWellington
Type of Festival Dance, Drama, Music
Location of Festival Aotearoa, Wellington, New Zealand
Festival Contact Information

Email: info@upstage.org.nz

Festival Description

The Upstage Festival is a real time event that takes place around the world in numerous countries, online and at physical venues. The curated cyberperformance event spans nine different time zones (see festival locations below). The festival takes place online, and physical venues around the world also provide "real life access nodes" where audiences can gather, watch and participate in the festival performances, and at some nodes experience other live performances as well. The work and performances will explore the concept of audience participation in an online venue format. Artists collaborate in real time to compile digital media including images, sound, animations, text, live webcam feeds and live drawing. Online audience members contribute to the performance through a text chat and in some shows through specially created tools. Due to the nature of the collaborative process each work will never be reproduced in the same way.

Festival Dates December 5 - 11, 2012
Festival Links


Festival Story:

UpStage is a web-based platform for live online collaborative performance. First launched in January 2004, it is now used by artists and students around the world to create and experiment with the use of internet technologies in live theatrical performances. UpStage provides a set of tools for logged in players to work with a variety of media in real time; graphics (still images and animations), video (live web cam feeds or prerecorded video), audio (text2speech or prerecorded audio), text and illustration are collaboratively manipulated to create an improvised or rehearsed performance. Audiences do not need to log in, they simply click on a link in an email or web page, and everything unfolds in their browser window.

The original idea came from the globally dispersed cyberformance troupe Avatar Body Collision who were using various free chat applications to collaborate and perform online from their different geographical locations. Frustrated by the limitations of software that was designed for other purposes, they began to imagine a purpose-built application, made by and for artists, that would combine the best features from different chat applications into a single, accessible platform. The result is UpStage: browser-based, open source, cross-platform, accessible for audiences and easy to use.


Festival Events:

Programming 2012:
  • Walking backwards into the future
    A programme of remounted cyberformances from the past five festivals (December 5-11, 2012)
    • Proverbs from many cultures express the concept of “walking backwards into the future” – the idea of learning from those who have gone before us as we forge new paths. As a live performance artform, cyberformance is fleeting, ephemeral and often leaves little trace for those who come after, and so this part of 121212 seeks to remember past performances by creating an opportunity for the artists to remount their work and for new audiences to experience the work.
    • A cyberformance symposium is also planned for 12 October 2012, to remember, document and discuss the work of those who laid the foundations for cyberformance and those who are working in it today.
  • Testing – 1 2, 1 2, 1 2
    New works in UpStage and other networked platforms (December 12, 2012).
    • Sound-checking for a gig, a technician steps up to the mic and intones “testing 1 2, 1 2, 1 2″ to test volume levels; in this part of the festival, we are testing many things: the new engine for UpStage; the variety of live performance being created in other platforms; the possibilities of collaborating across platforms; a new format for the annual festival; new partnerships and new relationships.
Proposals 2012:
  • We invite proposals that are boldly experimental, exploring the dynamics of online communication and interaction. We also invite collaborators from other platforms to contribute to the planning and organisation of the festival. Read the call for proposals or email us for more information.
  • Call for proposals http://upstage.org.nz/blog/?p=3320.
  • For more information email info@upstage.org.nz


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