Talking to Amelia Winger-Bearskin

Question: Tell me about “Crying on cue”

This piece is trying to be funny.  Anytime you try to be funny you run the risk of coming off as desperate or boring. I performed this piece at Women and Their Work in Austin in 2007 and the DC performance art week in 2008 as well as at University of Texas in Austin, for my 2008 MFA oral defense; the first two went really well, people laughed, people got it; but the latter fell flat because the audience was not an audience and the committee of professors wasn’t there to laugh, well at least not at the work.

I am using the methods of stage and film acting to make myself cry on cue, the live Amelia is dependent on the pre-recorded Amelia in order to perform for the live audience.  The live Amelia will emote or be slapped or will have camphor rubbed in her eyes, the recorded Amelia will encourage the audience to laugh or to hit or to judge the success of the instructions.  As we construct our virtual identities in the age of the Internet, the recorded self interacts with as much authority with our ‘audience’ as the present self does.

I was a teenaged club kid at the time of the real beginnings of the internet, and it fascinated me that someone was their online persona at the club as well as in the chatroom (or message board), but there was that time from 9-5pm when they were just Kathy or Rob, but after 5pm on livejournal or the weekly club night they participated in, they were Evangeline, darktor, G33k or missdeadly.  I think that now with facebook there is more transparency in web presence, it has dragged some out of the anonymous web presences but pushed others further into an internet subculture.  So maybe there was initially this idea that the internet would be this huge dungeon of people living out secret fantasies and personas, but things like facebook meant that the nation is online for a significantly longer period of time, but its just doing things like playing mafia wars, tagging photos and chatting, which is far from the utopic/dystopic predictions of the early 90s.

Crying on cue doesn’t sound like its screaming at the Internet, but it is poking fun at the way we ‘emoticon’ on the web or the way that given the chance to recreate a persona via technology, oftentimes the result is hilarious.

Click to watch “Crying on cue”

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