Sensory otherness in Laurie Anderson's work
'Laurie Anderson has always been a little out there. Maybe that's why she was tapped as NASA's first artist in residence.' (Braiker 2004)
'I [Anderson] try to pick things that would make people say, "I was just thinking that a couple of days ago; I didn't say it exactly like that but I had that idea."' (Howell 1992: 75)
Laurie Anderson has been known for over the past 20 years for her pioneering performance works and installations in which she has seamlessly deployed media technology. Anderson's involvement with NASA as its first artist-in-residence in 2003-04 seems, indeed, a natural progression. (1) It is, however, worth taking Braiker's quip in Newsweek seriously: what is it about Anderson's work that might seem, metaphorically speaking, 'out there', or put us 'out there'? Henry Sayre, for example, discusses of Anderson's work in terms of a notion of 'outside': 'a sense that they [spectators] are in some measure outside - or wanderers within - the very place they live' (1989: 147, original emphasis). Sayre points out that the force of Anderson's work arisen from this dislocation; the work functions through its 'chance collisions with whatever occurs at its margins' (1989: 147). Similarly, Silvija Jestrovic discusses place in Anderson's work with regard to Michel Foucault's notion of 'heterotopia' which is understood as real spaces that are fundamentally outside, '"counter-sites" to the normative conventional spaces' (2004: 26). Jestrovic argues that Anderson's performances fuse and intersect otherwise incompatible spaces, generating a 'network of "counter-sites" that include street, theatrical sites, virtual places, prisons, and cyber spaces' (2004: 26). I will explore, in this essay, the margins to which Sayre and Jestrovic refer in relation to the limits of our neuro-biological perception. It is the particular manner in which Anderson manipulates sense perception through technological mediation, engendering spheres of heterogeneity through sensory gaps, I argue, that creates what the audience experiences as a sense of 'otherness' within.
This essay analyses the way in which Anderson's work mobilises perceptual matrices to induce this sense of otherness in the audience, which cannot be elucidated merely by a psychological account. Matthew Causey, for example, discusses new media performance works through a psychoanalytic reading by referring to Freud and Lacan (2003 : 381-394). He argues that the moment when a performer faces his or her mediated other through the technology of reproduction is uncanny and can be read as 'making material of split subjectivity' (Causey 2003 : 383). The self as other in the space of technology presents an uncanny Double, characteristic of the psychological reading. While Anderson's recent performance works have been deliberately low-tech, presenting more as story-telling than as a large-scale multi-media gig, the way in which Anderson constructs stories for her solo performance is similar in essence to her other media-based, technological performance and installation works. (2) The audience feels a sense of 'unfamiliar and yet familiar' or of 'distant and yet close' when experiencing Anderson's work. This uncanny spectatorial effect is attributable to Anderson's ability to access a feeling of otherness, a resonant discomfort.
The work of Anderson therefore provides an opportunity, in the age of electronic technologies, for an alternative discussion of otherness in performance, where 'the other' usually refers to the feminine other or the cultural other, as for some feminist and NESB (Non English Speaking Background) artists in the 1990s. Otherness in those politically motivated performance works relies on a hierarchical structure that arises from binary oppositions, such as between male and female or between West and non-West, and their representational outcomes. In those schematic binaries, the Other becomes the visible, recognisable and identifiable other. The Other is only seen through a perspective of 'the same' - the male or the West. (3) Although Anderson does not overtly take up the issue of 'the other' as such, otherness in Anderson's work, on the other hand, remains unidentifiable, more elusive, and not easily associated with the binaristic 'Other.' This unrecognisable Other is therefore irreducible to the selfhood of her audience.
HETEROGENEITY AND 'INSIDE OTHERNESS'
Before analysing Anderson's work, I will briefly discuss the notions of heterogeneity and 'inside otherness' with regard to sensory gaps. The heterogeneous exists in the implosion and rupture of 'reading.' This rupture arises not because of double meanings, but due to an invisible clash of two incompatible readings. Craig Owens, for example, who analyses Anderson's work in terms of irreconcilable readings of signs, cites Yeats's well-known line, 'How can we know the dancer from the dance?' (1980: 63). We cannot simply say that this sentence has double meanings, which exist side by side; nor, can we say one reading is more important than the other. There can be no dance without a dancer. This is similar to the famous image of the 'Rubin vase' that consists simultaneously of two faces and one vase. One cannot see the two faces and the vase at the same time, but neither image can exist without the other. I will examine how Anderson's performance opens up such spaces - the heterogeneous sensory space, and the heterogeneous identities of 'I' and 'you' and of 'male' and 'female.'
It is widely accepted that, neuro-biologically, our perceptions are limited. Our organs for the five senses receive external stimuli and send nerve impulses to our brain, but it is our brain that interprets these signals. (4) Sensory information about an environment in which we live does not equate with the environment itself. Our brain selectively registers incoming sensory stimuli if it can recognise them: that is, if it 'makes' the signals recognisable. All other signals are deemed unnecessary and are silenced, ignored or forgotten. The brain cannot and does not process all information from all sensory receptors.
For the self to be total, however, it needs to hide the sphere of the unintelligible in the perceptional system. Any incoherence in perception that induces a feeling of uncertainty is treated as abnormal. Our perception is controlled and biased in order for us to construct a subjective totality from scattered sensory information. If, then, this totality is formulated through sensory understandings, it is a type of perceptual creation. Because of the gaps in our perception, this totality of being also has some holes in it. A neuro-biological self contains ambiguities. Our cognitive system, in mainstream neuro-biological terms, has space for uncertainties. In this way, cracks start to appear in the monolithic being. In the cracks, that which is unknown to the self continues to persist, while being unintelligible. A sense of 'inside otherness' exists at the sensible and intelligible limit of our sensorium.
Recent studies of perception reveal a more complicated situation than that explained by traditional neuro-biological readings of it. Susan Buck-Morss uses the term 'synaesthesia' to identify 'the mimetic synchrony between outer stimulus (perception) and inner stimulus (bodily sensation, including sense-memories)' as the most important factor of 'aesthetic cognition' (1997 : 389 n53). Synaesthesia is a complex term, but is often used to describe a sensation in one part of the body produced by a stimulus applied to another part. It can also connote the use of metaphors in which terms relating to one kind of sense-impression are used to describe sense-impressions of other kinds. Buck-Morss, on the other hand, in deploying the term, directs our attention to the manner in which technological intervention in perception can connect with internal images of memory and anticipation, not only other contemporaneous sensory experiences, as in a strictly neuro-biological understanding of the synaesthetic system.
Our cognitive system through perception has been complicated by technological intervention. Our senses have been extended by a technologically virtual world as in McLuhan's notion of media. Today, digital communication technology has greatly expanded the power of the technological 'eye' and 'ear': a new space of vision and audition has emerged. Cameras as a technological eye, for instance, have given us images of things that were not perceivable otherwise. It can capture the moment of the body being torn to pieces by an explosion. The artificial eye of a photograph can function outside of human sensitivity. That is, photography can perform outside a synaesthetic relationship between our bodily and cognitive experiences.
Our living environment consists of technologically manipulated sensory signals. Our five senses, in the media age, do not always receive signals that come from the same place and time of dispatch. Watching world news on television, for example, is a spatio-temporal collage. One's vision is extended to the other side of the world through telecommunication while one's body remains at home. These spatial and temporal gaps operate outside the ordinary system of our perception. Yet, we maintain a sense of coherence when we face them. The need for coherence is why we unconsciously switch between seeing a television set as an object and as a window on the world. It is very difficult, almost impossible, to see a television set or a telephone as a device when one is immersed in the television images or in a conversation with someone on a telephone. We oscillate between different modes of perception when we relate to media devices.
It is clear that Anderson is very aware of this mediated technological mosaic. (5) Jacqueline Burckhardt describes Anderson's work in terms of multiplicity:
Treating everyday life as a playing field of experience and inspiration, she uses her finely honed ability to restructure perception and channel it into multiple events, involving words, sounds, and images. There is no single-minded vantage point that forms her investigations and leads to linear creation; nor has her work settled into conveniently defined phases and periods. (1997: 153)
According to Burckhardt, Anderson's performances and installations create a 'dreamlike suspension' in the field of multiple events (1997: 156). I would like to discuss how, in the moment of suspension, the sphere of the heterogeneous unfolds, evoking the experience of an 'inside otherness' in the audience. Anderson claims that '"communication" is nothing to do with actual communication and much more to do with alienation [...]' (Smith and Smith 1995: 37). A non-psychological understanding of Anderson's remark allows us to see how this 'alienation' can be constructed as a result of the fragmentation of perceptional modes. I will discuss these points in detail below.
SYNAESTHESIA AND HETEROGENEOUS SENSORY SPACE
The heterogeneous sensory field of multiple events is created both through Anderson's sensuous use of technological mediation and through her manipulation of signs, which confuse the ordinary system of perception and synaesthesia with a technological intervention. Anderson treats technological mediation as an essential and integrated part of her performance work and, therefore, it is not merely a source of performative enhancement or a decorative device. In Anderson's case, mediated forms and modes are used to rearrange our sensory systems.
Anderson's use of technology separates our senses and reunites them in a different order. By taking advantage of the complex relationship between perception and communication, Anderson exploits the disjunction between representation and presence. In her 1986 performance film, Home of the Brave, Anderson plays a tape bow violin. (6) A strip of recording tape on which the voice of William Burroughs is recorded is mounted on a violin bow, and when Anderson runs it across the violin bridge with a magnetic playback head, it plays Burroughs's voice. Anderson incorporates the recorded voice of Burroughs in a way that confuses the anticipated relationship between what we see and what we hear. We see a performer playing a violin on a stage, but the sound we hear is different from expectations on the basis of what we see. The physical presence of Anderson playing a violin is confounded by the repetitive electronic voice of Burroughs. Throughout the production, Burroughs's existence is suspended between disembodied voice and silent body, the recorded and the live. He is deprived of full presence. In one scene, he can be heard but not seen as described as above. In another, he can be seen on the stage but his voice cannot be heard. Anderson technologically interpolates these fragments of Burroughs into her performance. Yet the performance functions as a seamless and integrated, though perhaps unnatural, whole between vision and audition through technological manipulation, and also between Burroughs and Anderson.
As discussed, we 'make up' meaning, or elicit necessary information out of scattered signals. A biological being needs to detect meaningful signals from its visual and sound environment, or for some, from their odoriferous or tactile environment. We do our best to find some meaning, any meaning, in the world around us. In order to perceive anything it is necessary to interpret these signals. We can guess the entire picture of a jigsaw puzzle before it is finished. If we have a conversation in a noisy place, we do not have to hear every word to make sense of it. We fill in the gaps. Phone sex, for example, exploits these gaps. Allucquère Rosanne Stone asserts that in commercial phone sex 'client and provider mobilize erotic tension by taking advantage of lack' (1995: 95). The customer fills in the missing sensory information of vision, smell and taste, through verbal tokens offered by the provider. A kind of fantastic, synaesthetic whole is momentarily evoked for specific, established purposes.
Cross-sensory effects in Anderson's work are complex. In Home of the Brave, discussed above, Burroughs's recorded voice was juxtaposed with the performer playing a violin. If there were merely a recorded voice, the audience could compensate for the lack of Burroughs's body by imagining his presence. But, because Anderson was ' playing' Burroughs's voice, the audience could not use known procedures for filling sensory and cognitive gaps. Instead, the performance generated a kind of dislocation, or an implosion between vision and audition while rendering a mediated reality sensuous - that is to say, literally 'of the senses.'
What Anderson does in performance work is to slip technology into a gap between the digital and analogue nature of our communication, making us experience a mixture of the two modes of communication via media devices. (7) Digital elements, such as words or images in her work, are often transformed through a sensuous use of media technology so that the non-analogue elements induce a particular sensitivity to the texture of performance. Paradoxically, the disembodied informs the 'liveness' of the embodied: the technological mediation itself begins to take on life. The performance itself became a kind of a live organism. Anderson describes her work with the term 'the electric body' (1994: 174-181). Philip Auslander discusses the performative moment as itself a 'cyborg', a fusion of human and machine (1992: 30-42). The 'cyborg-ness' of Anderson's performance is more subtle and cunning than the popular-culture concept of the cyborg, as in the film The Terminator. She doesn't simply juxtapose the body and technology, or use technology as a substitution of the body, but plays with our capacity to 'make up' meaning in sensory gaps by mimicking a kind of experiential embodiment. Amelia Jones aptly describes Anderson's work as creating a 'technophenomenological body' (1998: 17).
Another way in which Anderson creates a synaesthetic and heterogeneous sensory field of multiple events is on the basis of her understanding of the problematic of 'signs.' On one level Anderson's work is, as Jen Budney describes, 'the art of the unseen (thoughts, dreams, memories, and hallucinations) and the doubly-seen (ambiguous signs, misread cues, and multiple interpretations)' (1997: 160). Owens pointed out that her performances deal with the 'illegibility' or 'unreadability' of signs. For example, in Americans on the Move, Anderson made a remark about the emblazoned images on Apollo 10 spacecraft - 'a nude man and woman, the former's right arm raised at the elbow, palm proffered' (Owens 1980: 60). Her comment was, '[i]n our country [United States], good-bye looks just like hello' (Owens 1980: 60). Owens argues that the artist is not concerned with ambiguity, with multiple meanings engendered by a single sign; rather, two clearly defined but mutually incompatible readings are engaged in blind confrontation in such a way that it is impossible to chose between them. (1980: 61, original emphasis) (8)
Anderson, as a media artist, addresses 'illegibility' on various levels of vision, audition, texts and the performance body although they are very much mixed in the actual work. To understand this, one could think of calligraphy. Calligraphy can make us reconsider the gap between 'reading' and 'seeing' because one's attention in a work of calligraphy moves between both modes. The heterogeneity inherent in calligraphy illustrates sensory and cognitive gaps that would otherwise be ignored. Anderson works in this area of heterogeneity between reading, seeing, and listening, evoking complex responses but at the same time creating an additional reading of 'complexity.' She does this by confusing the intertwined relationships between sign, meaning, agent of action, and referent by taking out one of the four elements, or by changing the order between the four in the ordinary sign system, or by mixing them with a different element from another sign. For example, in Handphone Table in 1977, she presented an installation with a table, and described the set-up as follows:
[the table] had some speakers inside and powerful drivers that sent the sound up some steel rods into the surface of the table, so that when you put your elbows on it and your hands over your ears it was like putting on a pretty good set of headphones, using the principles of bone conduction. (Anderson 1997: 132)
In this piece, Anderson manipulates a deliberate clash of sign and meaning between hands and speakers with the sound as an agent of action. This work also plays on a relationship between texts and meaning with the speaking voice. She uses a line from a seventeenth-century English love poem by George Herbert which reads, 'Now I in you without a body move' (Anderson 1997: 132). The sound is stereo with some extreme panning. The words move back and forth slowly between the ears. The text's metaphysical meaning became a literal one. It was, in a sense, a Surrealist work in three dimensions in real time.
In the violin piece in Home of the Brave, Burroughs's voice changes its tone according to how fast Anderson moves the recording tape violin bow. His voice is sometimes recognisable and sometimes not. It moves between enunciation and enunciated, listening and hearing. The writer's voice is a signifier disconnected from the real referent, Burroughs, and pasted to a different referent, Anderson. It is experienced as an undecidable identity between the two. Anderson's performance problematises the unity of identity in relation to a sensory 'gestalt.'
HETEROGENEOUS IDENTITY AND ANDERSON'S MEMORY EFFECTS
Anderson's work on the theme of identity is distinctive in the sense that she keeps her cool - she avoids expressing the anxiety of the 'narcissistic' self, the usual approach taken by many artists working on themes of subjectivity, identity and 'otherness.' Jestrovic examines Anderson's work through the Bakhtinian notions of dialogicity, which understands a text as an 'amalgam constituted through the voices of others', and heteroglossia, which refers to a condition in which 'the totality of a work is expressed as a combination of author's voice, the speeches of the narrators and characters, and the included genres' (2000: 2 and 7 n 17). Anderson's way of dealing with the notion of identity maintains its coolness and distance because of these structural complexities and her incorporations of questions about the illegibility of signs in the technological-sensory matrix. Anderson herself is quite comfortable with ambiguous, contradictory meaning. As Anderson says, 'I'm probably just a regular schizophrenic. But I still do feel that I can see the social self I've created and watch it go through its required motions' (Howell 1992: 80).
Anderson's tendency toward dissociation from herself is instrumental in development of her work. For example, in a piece in the 1970s, she deliberately confuses her life with art history. Anderson confesses that, 'I would drift off and have dreams that mixed my personal life with art history. I'd get them very deeply confused […]' (Howell 1992: 41). In other cases, she uses this tendency to create 'alter-egos/surrogate speakers' to say something that she would not otherwise say. Referring to a sound installation work, for example, she says that '[w]riting the parrot's speeches [in the installation] was like finding a whole new voice - a voice that really didn't sound like me and it didn't have much to do with the way I think' (Anderson 1997: 129).
Anderson, however, understands that the self does not consist solely of appearance. There are many unknown elements in the self. She explains that, 'I feel a desperate need to get out of myself' (Howell 1992: 22). Anderson's performance personae are presented as her actual self, leading some commentators to regard Anderson's work as autobiographical. But she denies this equation: 'I have never really been an artist who is interested in self-expression or autobiography' (Anderson in Solomon 2005). Anderson is, however, open to considering how fictional autobiographical material might lend itself to a confusion of selves, hence the necessity of reminding the audience, as she does in this interview, that 'autobiography' is a position, a point of view, a tool:
[I]t's easy, understandably, to mix up autobiographical work with fiction because I use the words 'I' and 'you' though not meaning myself at all. Of course, like any fiction writer, you try and put yourself into that point of view while you're writing a certain story or song, but it doesn't necessarily mean that, once you stop writing, you actually had anything to do with that. It's an act of faith and imagination to be that particular 'I' jumping into somebody else's skin. It's just a device. (Smith and Smith 1995: 35)
Anderson hides herself behind the performance persona. Instead of autobiography, her work could better be described in terms of the strategic use of 'alter-egos.' This becomes apparent when she uses voice-altering technology that enables her to create a vocal persona with a deep alto, a coercive and commanding voice. While this persona is presented as an alter ego, it is equally clear it is not - neither is it a mere male personification, nor simple androgyny. The difficulty of defining the function of such 'alter-egos' reveals something about the instability of identity.
There are conceptual gaps in the formation of one's identity. Some scholars have looked at the ambiguity of the notion of identity by analysing certain linguistic terminologies. For instance, Naoki Sakai illustrates an obscurity within the us/them dichotomy in English. 'Our' thought may be definitely different from 'their' thought, but there is no guarantee that 'our thinking is either adequate to our world or immediate to us' because language does not equate with the world (1991: 13, original emphasis). Indeed, the word 'we' often pretends to integrate some people but, in return, silences them, i.e., there is no unity in this word. In this sense, 'we' are not necessarily a 'universalised' me, and 'I' am not a 'particularised' us either (Sakai 1991: 19). There are always disjunctions within language. A collectivity that is considered to be consistent and homogenous does not exist. A general notion of identity in both the collective and individual sense is, in fact, ambiguous. What happens is that, for the formation of the internal self, a certain discrepancy between the 'inside' and the 'outside' is created. It conceals conflicts and disorder within the experiential matrix. Thus, one forgets the fact that one constantly experiences disruptions of the 'self inside.'
Paul Ricoeur analyses the problematics of the formation of identity in a different manner. In traditional notions of identity, according to him, sameness of the self prevails. He clarifies this through separate terms of 'numerical' and 'qualitative' identities, and also the idea of the 'uninterrupted continuity'of the same individual (Ricoeur 1992: 116-117). The first notion of identity corresponds with the notion of identification, 'understood in the sense of the reidentification of the same'; 'the same' repeats itself n times (Ricoeur 1992: 116). The second is of 'extreme resemblance.' It is a notion of substitution without semantic loss. Ricoeur's third notion of identity is about no change of the individual in time. '[W]e say of an oak tree that it is the same from the acorn to the fully developed tree' (Ricoeur 1992: 117). In this approach to identity, the structure suppresses the event; universalism wins out over particularism. In other words, identity ignores the uniqueness of the self as a singularity, specific to time and place.
The spectatorial experience of 'inside otherness', which Anderson's performance induces, may result from her manipulation of identity in terms of the function of memory trace and synaesthetic response. John Howell points out that '[m]uch of [Anderson's] work and casual conversation begins with "I remember''', indicating, according to him, a recurrent theme of memory in Anderson's work (1992: 17). The artist also claims that she is 'trying to understand how memory worked' (Howell 1992: 44). Howell has concluded further that 'Anderson constantly recycles her own past to create a fluid, dynamic sense of past and present' (1992: 17). Anderson, however, not only cuts and pastes her own memories and experiences into a story, but also the memories of others - 'she has been known to adapt the stories of others and present them as the experience of the 'I' who speaks in her performances' (Howell 1992: 17).
A memory can affect one's present experience. What happens when we are forced to accept someone else's memory as our own? Ricoeur discusses the idea of the mnemonic trace that forms the quasi memories of our own past experiences: '[m]emory can then be held to be equivalent to a cerebral trace' (1992: 133). If we substitute for one's own memory the notion of mnemonic trace, one is able to create a replica of a memory in the brain of someone else. This can induce us to feel the uncanny presence of something other in the self - something that persists of the 'other's' identity. What is important here is to understand that the mnemonic trace authorises the specific connection between past experience and present experience.
Anderson's performance functions by complicating the 'known' self in terms of mnemonic blank-spots and perceptual gaps, in which the perception of the external stimulus does not evoke the internal images of memory and anticipation. She uses the dislocation between vision and audition, which creates for the audience a moment of perceptual vertigo, while presenting it in the form of a 'strange-yet-seamless' integration with the aid of technological mediation. Her work is a completion of the incomplete, a presentation of a totality where there is none - a mutant or a cyborg. This quasi-totality is important, preventing an immediate rejection by the audience. The spectator feels safe and comforted and at the same time experiences a shock of dislocation because Anderson has effectively driven a wedge between identity and the totality we form from sensory input. The self is revealed to be constructed by unreliable and changeable components, including memory. Anderson gives her audience an experience of being lost in the world they live in, felt as a hollow in the self, that is, an 'inside otherness.' This sense of inside otherness works through overlaps, splices, and mis-readings at the edge of our perceptual and cognitive abilities. Questions around this kind of productivity at the sensory periphery, where it contacts, merges with, and is defined by its environment, could help to explore a new model for analysis of technologically mediated performance and its engagement with 'the Other.'
I would like to thank Meredith Morse for her critical insights and constructive comments that have greatly assisted the development of this essay.
(1) The residency was part of the NASA Art Program with a stipend of $20,000. Anderson was the first and the last as the program was 'scratched out' (Anderson in Solomon 2005).
(2) Her latest show, The End of the Moon, an outcome of the NASA residency, to be performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in February and March 2005, is a solo performance that consists of the spoken word, songs and music in an intimate and low-tech setting.
(3) For Emmanuel Levinas, this is an injustice to what is irreducibly other, ignoring that there is an inseparable and interwoven relationship between 'the same' and 'the other', which cannot be discussed dichotomously. Levinas uses the idea of 'face' to talk about the irreducibility or alterity of the Other (1979). What Levinas suggests is that in a 'face to face' situation one faces a direct appeal before perception and outside of its reduction to representation. The singularity of the face of the other exceeds the power of assimilation by 'the same.'
(4) Paul M. Churchland, for example, shows how 'recurrent pathways in the recognizing network', through which recognition emerges, mask perceptual ambiguity (1995: 105).
(5) Causey in his earlier writing argues that technologically-mediated performances, including the work of Anderson, present a 'para-performative tele-theatrical phenomenon' in which 'the immediacy of performance and the digital alterability of time and space through technology are subsumed within each other' (1994: 61). My intention is to examine how Anderson's work with this kind of performance structure induces an uncanny effect outside a psychological reading.
(6) This work evolved three times. According to RoseLee Goldberg, 'it began as Mister Heartbreak in concert (and as a recording), became the movie (and soundtrack) Home of the Brave, and later a tour, Natural History' (2000: 111).
(7) Regarding the distinction between the two modes of communication, I use the following explanation by Arthur D. Shulman and Robyn Penman: 'Digital coding always consists of discrete units (such as words) whereas the analogue form is continuous (like laughter). The difference is the same as that between a conventional (analogue) watch and a digital one: the former represents time on a continuous dimension (the circular watch face); the latter represents it as discrete numbers.' (1981: 59)
(8) Owens's observation appears to be valid, given the artist's own comment when she says: 'I love that bathroom piece where an artist just changed the men's and women's room to 'us' and 'them', and nobody knew which one to go into. Who are 'they'? 'They' are the enemy, usually.' (Howell 1992: 36)
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Dr Yuji Sone is a practising artist and postdoctoral fellow at University of New South Wales, Australia. Sone was a member of Tokyo-based experimental performance group Ban'yu Inryoku. Since moving to Australia, he has produced numerous media-based performance works. Sone's current research focuses on notions of intermediation in relation to media/technology-based performance, in addition to investigating methodological issues related to creative performance research. As part of his research project, Sone is organising e-Performance and Plug-ins: A Mediatised Performance Conference at UNSW for late 2005. (For details of this conference, go to http://www.arts.unsw.edu.au/research/conferences/eperformance.html.)