By amira.h., 2018

From October 2016 to October 2017, I decided to live the majority of my social life online through a tiny iPhone 5 screen on Periscope, a live streaming app owned by Twitter. On Periscope, broadcasters stream to a global audience who can respond to the content in real-time through comments or hearts which appear publicly on screen. As a performance artist, this form of instantaneous interaction and documentation appealed to me, and I started broadcasting under the name @amiraball to strangers all over the world (some of who became followers and friends), as well as some supportive IRL friends. Eventually, I committed myself to a yearlong experiment in endurance performance art, all captured and stored online.

My previous gallery and video-based performance work focused on endurance and testing my physical and mental limits, as well as those of the audience. With my live stream works, I wanted to continue to experiment with audience participation and chance, favouring this over the ‘finished product’; I wanted to see how far and how deep the audience would go, how much they were willing to give, or not give, of themselves. I wanted to see what could happen when I let an audience that was not familiar with me or with my performance art be active contributors and collaborators. Some questions I started with were: What can happen when you let the audience take over? Are online relationships as real as “IRL” relationships? How “real” could I be online?

'Into My Arms' runs from 11 May-7 July 2018

Amira.h., Life Online with @amiraball (still) (2018), durational performance documentation, dimensions variable. Courtesy the artist.

Performing on Periscope was sometimes traumatic, sometimes joyful, always intimate. It was sometimes a drag show, sometimes a radio request show, and sometimes a confessional. At times, I was surprised by the empathy I received from complete strangers, and I like to think that the experience has made me more compassionate. Just like real life, it was a rollercoaster of emotions. Although I streamed over 150 times, Periscope only displays the most recent 100 broadcasts and some have been deleted/hidden, so what remains is an excerpt of my year online (the experience also bleeds out into performances on Facebook Live and my Youtube channel).

I extend the invitation to you to enter my room in Footscray, Victoria, and to insert yourself into the
conversation between artist and audience.

amira.h, Life Online with @amiraball, 2018, two-channel video of yearlong live performance on Periscope, 4:07:36 & 7:07 min appears Into My Arms, curated by Frances Barrett and Toby Chapman.

View amira.h.’s entire Periscope archive at: https://www.pscp.tv/amiraball/1LyGBraopqjGN

Amira.h., Life Online with @amiraball (still) (2018), durational performance documentation, dimensions variable. Courtesy the artist.