A Sticky Subject: New Media Popular Entertainments

Danielle Szlawieniec-Haw

Abstract


While internet performances may, at first glance, seem to lack the bodies together in a space that has been considered a hallmark of popular entertainments, a critical look at new media performances reveals a strong link between them and traditional popular entertainments. In addition, changing notions of the body, liveness, and space have complicated even the idea of what “live bodies interacting in real space” in fact means. These concepts have been preliminarily explored in relation to websites such as YouTube, but newer sites like Stickam challenge notions of liveness and the body more clearly. With the ability to interact with multiple viewers over webcam in the same “room” simultaneously while watching the main performer or performers, Stickam creates a live as well as mediatized space for entertainments that both does and does not contain live bodies. The short acts linked together into performances intended for the people, as found in the tradition of popular entertainments, are now frequently a component of new media performances. Danielle I. Szlawieniec-Haw is a professional actor and writer. She is also a PhD candidate in Theatre Studies at York University, Ontario, Canada where she is pursuing her studies into the effects and ethics of representing trauma.

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Popular Entertainment Studies ISSN 1837-9303