Performance, the document, and the digital: the case of Lynn Hershman Leeson’s ‘Robertas’
Reason for embargo
Under indefinite embargo due to third party copyright of images.
This paper presents a study of three works by US pioneering artist Lynn Hershman Leeson: the performance Roberta Breitmore (1972-8), now existing primarily as documentation; the tele-robotic doll CyberRoberta (1995-8) and the Second Life environment created using Hershman Leeson's archives at Stanford University, Life to the Second Power (2007). All three share a character, that of Roberta, though this is encountered through different media. This paper shows that there is a substantial documentation of the former work, and hardly any documentation of the latter two works. Drawing from performance studies, this paper suggests that museums should start to document and preserve the user experience of such works so as to create an inter-documentary ecology comprising 'live' performance (whether the artist's or the users'), documents (created by the artist, the museum or the users) and the digital (showing the web and social media life of a work in different formats).
Digital Humanities 2016, 2016-07-11, 2016-07-15, Krakow