Pandemic performance: A Haunting of Haunts
During the COVID-19 pandemic that started in 2020, galleries, theatres, and performance venues closed in accordance with social distancing, lockdown, and confinement policies. Art practice, and in particular performance art, faced an existential crisis: adapt its form or cease to exist for audiences. To adapt, performance art adopted video on the internet as a means through which to perform posing immense challenges to its understanding of performance, liveness, and what is considered physical or ‘real’. As a response, I started to create a body of work employing the methodology of practice as research (PaR) during periods of confinement of the pandemic. Titled A Haunting of Haunts (2020–ongoing), the practice is designed to be situated within networks and is therefore classified as networked performance. The practice aims to enable artists to create performance under conditions of social distancing, lockdown, and confinement, to explore the idea of transposing performance from ‘real’ spaces to ‘virtual’ spaces, and to critique video as the dominant and largely accepted visual form employed in networked performance. This exposition proposes that while A Haunting of Haunts facilitates practice and assists in the development of a visual language specific to networks that consists of what are termed as networked images, thereby contributing to networked performance as a field of practice, it also highlights the hauntological condition of such a practice.