THE LAST PERFORMANCE
The electronic literature project that I chose to explore and engage for my second long blog post is a writing project called “The Last Performance”. It is a constrained archive of collaborative writings that has been synchronized under the theme of lastness in relation to modern art forms of interpretation like dancing (final art of expression), and theatre (a final performance). The Last Performance is an ongoing project that was “conceived in response to work of the Chicago-based performance collective, Goat Island, and their decision, after 20 years of practice, to create a last performance.” Upon completion of this writing project, the Goat Island Company will end in other to make room for the ‘unknown’ as they have put it on their mission statement.
The Last Performance is a broad social interface that invites participants to contribute texts and words that will be incorporated into the unfinished work to function as raw (material) data for the site’s performance via algorithmic processes. The database is catalogues into lenses, and each lens has a word bank that fits less than one of the six project catalogues to reflect the derivative of the word Last. Tangentially the format of The Last Performance is structured to emulate the Haggai Sophia—the dome that was constructed as a church, then restricted into a mosque but now is a museum of arts that holds the history and jewels of Istanbul. The transformations of which the dome went through then become the precursor for this digital literature project.
The process of contributing to this particular project is guided by specific constraints or directives, (the project uses these two words interchangeably: the former being more usually associated with writing, the latter with performance), and the use of creative response to fit within the theme of Lastness. The constraints, which may be phrased as a question, an instruction, a topic, etc., are open to interpretation and may be responded to in any number of ways: directly or indirectly, overtly or discretely depending on how the audience
The image above is the structure of the main platform on which The Last Performance is constructed. The ©s are the six main constrains by which the database organizes the word contributions that are submitted to the lenses. Each lens serves a different purpose of cataloguing underneath the six different constraints.
Within one of the many feature that are showcased in the project is a Lasting Directive feature that shows the many forms in which the word last could be used in the English language. I found this to be very profound and useful to my person, as it was a way for me to expound on one of the many meanings of the project (which was to explain The Last Performance)