Live Chat took place simultaneously in Arnolfini Bar, Watershed Digital Café and online, over 2 nights in December 2002. Two performers hung out in Arnolfini bar, speaking text face-to-face that was being written live online in Yahoo chatrooms. Sound and image from the bar was transmitted wireless across the quay to Watershed’s Digital Café, where it was projected. Participants at Watershed could join in the online chat, via the Digital Café’s computers, and hear their text spoken at Arnolfini after a certain amount of lag. To complete the loop, video was also streamed back to the web so that people could log on and participate remotely.
Arnolfini Bar, a real social space located in Bristol, was networked into the virtual architecture of the web, that is everywhere and nowhere - though mainly focused in the U.S. The artwork was a network, its contents authored by knowing and unknowing participants. It produced a complicated social space that raised questions about the realness of chat both on and offline, and generated playful dialogue between these contexts.
Live Chat was remade for tEXt Festival, Exeter Phoenix, bar and digital media centre, 14th May, 2005.
Available for touring to social spaces and is particularly suited to performance and new media art festival contexts.