As part of Performa 13, one of the more talked about works of performance art has been New York-based artist Ryan McNamara's "MEƎM: A Story Ballet About the Internet." From Nov. 8 to 12 in the Connelly Theater, McNamara staged a dance performance that explored the transmission of information and interactions across the Internet, investigating "our sense of what we do when we copy, steal, appropriate, create, repeat, plagiarize, mine, or tweet," reads the description on Performa 13's website.
According to Rozalia Jovanovic from ARTINFO, the performance began as a traditional dance show that took a surprising turn when audience members were wheeled away by dollies to different areas of the theater. The dancers then began to occupy the whole theater, filling the area where the audience had been. They broke off into small groups, dancing different routines to different songs—a cacophony of sound and movement. Throughout the truly immersive show, audience members were repeatedly moved on dollies around the theater.
Video via artforum on Instagram
"Not only did our view constantly get refreshed, but each time you were deposited in a new spot, you wondered what you would see, you noticed new people sitting around you, sometimes you’d strike up a conversation with one," writes Jovanovic, "and if you got bored, you only had to turn your head slightly to check out another dance."
The performance mirrors a user's attention span on the Internet, where he or she clicks through different pages, navigating the digital chaos. It also introduces a social aspect, the chatter between strangers that Jovanovic experienced. While the Internet ballet did not take place online itself, it was captured in photos and videos, giving it a lasting digital life.