Jessica Thompson

  • Give it Up

    2007 & 2008

    Networked Performance

    Give it Up is a live breakdance battle that takes place between two geographically separated spaces linked through a live web stream. Part performance art, part social experiment, the project explores hyper-socialized space of web-based performance through an open-source model of participation, and examines the complex relationship between relational practice, collaboration and the practice of art making. In the performance, dancers and a DJ were joined via a web stream and asked to engage in one-on-one and two-on-two battles. Breakdance battles follow a call and response structure where dancers engage in a dialogue through gesture in order to engage, respond to or one-up their partners. Battles are judged based on technique, level of complexity and showmanship. When footage of breakdance battles are posted online in forums such as YouTube, the battle structure becomes virtual — as videos are posted, other videos are posted in response. By splitting the battle between two locations, physical interaction becomes compounded by the opportunities and limitations of the web streams, while subtle moves such as popping & locking are difficult to translate, the cameras afford the opportunity to engage with the mechanics of perception.