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121212: Walking Backwards into the Future


The 121212 UpStage Festival of Cyberformance begins this Wednesday, 5 December, with a retrospective programme entitled "Walking Backwards into the Future."

Proverbs from many cultures express the concept of "walking backwards into the future" (in Maori, "ka mura, ka muri"), to learn from those who have gone before us as we forge new paths; it is also a quote from media theorist Marshall McLuhan. In this spirit, the first part of the 121212 UpStage Festival seeks to acknowledge and celebrate the body of cyberformance work that has been created since the first UpStage festival in 2007.


Walking Backwards into the Future takes place from 5-11 December, and is followed by a programme of new works, Testing 1 2, 1 2, 1 2, over 27 hours on Wednesday 12 December (with a bit on the 11th and 13th, depending on your time zome).


Opening the festival is Come and Go by Avatar Body Collision, the cyberformance troupe who initiated UpStage in 2003. In this cyberformance the group faithfully represent's Samuel Beckett's short play Come and Go in the online environment. The avatars' words and actions adhere strictly to the script, under the watchful eye of a tyrannical director and with comments from Beckett himself.

Other highlights from 070707 are: Baba Yaga, incorporating shadow puppet techniques into a beautiful cyberformance: Freeze Flight or Fight, which invites audiences to share their experiences of dealing with rejection; Learn to Hear Through the Lies of Your Eyes: The Cyberforming Hybridization of Tuxedomoon, which "addresses the position of the contemporary musician in a relation to predominantly scopophilic regime of the Artworld based on information technology"; and Interface, a playful face-to-face meeting on the surface of the interface.


From the 080808 UpStage Festival, there is: Calling Home: The Big Get-Together, the show which spawned the cyberformance troupe Activelayers; RxEgo-go, exploring the role of medi(c)ation in a symptomatized, technologized society; Mysterious Mali's Drawings, a super-hero tale by children in Brisbane; and Veni! ????! Dodji! to the Zapata Private/Pirate Birthday Party. And, Vice Versa … a cyberformance celebration of the birthday of Mexican revolutionary Emilio Zapata.


A "kitchen of the future" is the setting for The Dish, originally presented at the 090909 festival. From 101010, MASS-MESS explores the meaning of symbols in a world of mass production, and S/Zports: A Training for the Possible Wor(l)ds applies the vocabulary of sports to alternative social relations. And from last year's festival, 11:11:11, we have Flat Earth - a poetic journey on the source of ideas - and Magfalda Meets the World in Pieces - a journey of discovery. All of the performances are accessible to online audiences via a standard web browser: visit to find live links to the stages at the performance time.

On Thursday 6 December there will be a "node" - screening of performances at a physical venue - at Odin Teatret in Holstebro, Denmark, from 4pm-6pm CET.

The 121212 UpStage Festival of Cyberformance is organised by Festival Architects Vicki Smith and Helen Varley Jamieson, with a team of dedicated volunteers and the talented artists. It is the sixth annual festival of cyberformance - live online interactive events created and presented for online audiences.


For more information, visit or email

Further information: (Shows information) (Schedule, Links to the shows and Time Converters)

Contact details: 
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Written by


3 Dec 2012