Accepted Paper:

Theatre of the 4th Dimension; a new performance paradigm born of web 2.0 integration  
Michael Allen (University of Adelaide)

Paper short abstract:

An auto-ethnographic research project of performances (live and online) has revealed a new contribution to performance theory, unique to the online space. The fourth wall is remade and with it the relationships and meaning of performance

Paper long abstract:

Stanislavsky identified public solitude. This concept quietly ensconced the abstract concept of the fourth wall and Bateson expanded the inference of the backstage space as a metaphor for personality consciousness.

Web integrated technology and platforms have blossomed based on the individual capacity to perform and present themselves. Tik Tok, FaceBook live, youtube, vimeo and more everyday are used to present and perform education, religion, medicine, gaming and nearly every minority hobby or sub-culture imaginable.

A significant feature of the online personality is the ‘authentic’ confessional relationship of their performances and the relationship with their audiences. The temporal and spatial elasticity of this type of performance also significantly impacts the traditional (albeit redundant) definition of ‘live’ performance.

This paper will recount an auto-ethnographic research project which engaged in creative analysis of the online performance environment from 2018-2019. Specifically, this research reflected the experiences of living online characters, interacting in social media sub-culture groups using creative analysis and interpreting that into a series of live theatre performances.

The plays were performed and broadcast as a live stream on multi-modal social media platforms simultaneously with live in-the-room conventional audiences. The resultant experience is an infused audience participation work of collective imagination which has spawned a new way of thinking about the theatrical conventions of the fourth wall and the suspension of disbelief.

Ultimately I conclude that the metaphor of the 4th wall and 'backstage' experience of personhood requires new thinking in a web 2.0 consciousness.

Panel P01
Rethinking fieldwork: autoethnography, digital ethnography, ethnography in lockdown
  Session 1