Performing with the Aether

An Aesthetics of Tactical Feminist Practice

Authored by: Nancy Mauro-Flude

The Routledge Companion to Mobile Media Art

Print publication date:  July  2020
Online publication date:  July  2020

Print ISBN: 9780367197162
eBook ISBN: 9780429242816
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter explores the scope of mobile recording and transmitting as a tactical practice for not only activism, but also performance art. Made exemplary by means of the project Bag Lady 2.0, this prototype is a custom-built computational tool and interdisciplinary project reflecting on aesthetics, computation, communication and autonomy, created by Mauro-Flude. Equipped with this bag “users” can roam through urban spaces to collect images and impressions that are then transmitted through open WLANs to an autonomous feminist server. Bag Lady 2.0 is not only an item for collecting, but also for broadcasting gathered information in real time. Originally conceived as a modular tool for performances, the bag can serve many different uses. It can serve as a personal recording device to capture one’s daily life, to record conversations, log geographical data, and take images. Such a device can serve as a tool for grassroots journalists operating under the conditions of repression. They can record images and audio files, and send them immediately to a remote server, while deleting the compromising data from the bag’s memory. Once the server received files from the bag, the files on the bag are automatically deleted. Referring to Beatriz Colomina and Homi K. Bhabha (2007) this document explores how mediations of public and private in the context of war can be domesticated and informs developments in fashion and design. This chapter frames devices for recording and transmitting footage taken in the daily environment in terms of De Certeau’s strategies and tactics. It discusses the artists’ aesthetic development in respect to Benjamin’s plea for rigorous attitude in the creation of the work of art—turning more viewers into participants and producers.

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