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Arjen Keesmaat

Screenshot from the performance at DEAF03, 1 March 2003:
Arjen Keesmaat and Dan Vatsky

Sensing Presence Raison d’etre

Please note that this site is no longer maintained. The information was last edited in January 2006. The Sensing Presence Program, and its research section, are no longer functional. This being said, there is still a lot to be found here that can be of use, so it is kept as an archive for those interested.

Since its inception in 2000, the Sensing Presence program of Waag Society has sought to foster and define the art of creative, collaborative process in new media performance. Initially, a presentation and dissemination vehicle for KeyStroke/KeyWorx, SP has attempted more recently to expand the context of distributed performance and intervention beyond the domain of a single software application. The Anatomic project and its successor, Open Studio, for example, represent modest initiatives to facilitate a professional local and translocal community of young media artists in the exploration of live performance methods across platforms, technologies, protocols and cultural boundaries.

Sensing Presence has opted for a grassroots, bottom-up approach to performance making and audience participatory work. We stress the social and political implications of aesthetic processes in a turbulent, far-from-equilibrium world. We sponsor and advise co-operative, interdisciplinary projects that address synergetic methods in performance networks through perception, affect and collaborative making; projects that provoke, intervene and question the relation between the individual and the collective, the local and the global, the continuous and the discrete, the analog and the digital.

SP plays a ‘niche’ role in the emerging Waag Society. Our task is to facilitate projects that push the boundaries of the functional and offer provocative interpretations and manifestations of mediated culture through Live Arts strategies. We offer our contribution as difference, as instability, as friction, as critique, as experiment, as phase transition - both within the institution and to the outside world.

The research profile of the Sensing Presence program is evolving. It is currently focused on the process aesthetics of Live Arts practice, of real time collaboration, group improvisation and composition; on the collective experience of belonging-together through making; the co-dependent dynamic roles of the individual and culture. Through participation in research consortiums such as MultimediaN, we hope to continue extending our community of researchers.

Sher Doruff and Floor van Spaendonck
Sensing Presence Program
2005, Waag Society, Amsterdam