The Purple State

The Purple State is a time specific event marking the American Presidential Elections during election night. Produced by The Techne Institute, it also includes a post event panel discussion, lecture, and digital performance.

Center for the Arts, SUNY at Buffalo, North Campus

November 8, 2016

8:00pm – midnight

Free and open to the public

The Purple State is a time specific event marking the American Presidential Elections during election night. Produced by The Techne Institute, it will take place at the Center for the Arts, UB North Campus on November 8, 2016 from 8:00 pm until midnight.

This event explores the impact of social media on elections, voter behaviors, and the polarization of perceptions and ideas. If elections are considered a minimal condition for democracy, they remain at the core of the democratic ritual. On the contrary, participation in social media, especially by younger generations, does not necessarily lead to an increased participation in the voting process or to the expression of constructed alternatives. By linking algorithm and affects, social media may be changing the « atmosphere of democracy » (Bruno Latour). If the Purple State describes swing States, the event itself probes the indeterminate condition of a democracy, when voters’ behaviors become algorithmically driven.

The Purple State will feature:

  • The Great Walls, a performance directed by Eli Commins, is based on a workshop with the students of the Cultural Production class of the UB Arts Management graduate program.
  • The Fascinum, an installation, and Human Browser, a performance by Christophe Bruno
  • DisSocial Media, an exhibit designed by Nikolaus Wasmoen. The exhibit features data mined from social media which is recreated as a series of remixed, live feeds.
  • RECOUNT, a performance by Igor Vamos of the Yes Men, based on a Yes Lab workshop with participants from UB.

The event will be followed by a discussion panel on November 11 at 4: 00p.m. in the Screening Room of the CFA that will be followed by a live digital performance by artist Valerie Cordy.

Twitter: @purplestateusa

Facebook: The Purple State

Instagram: PurpleStateUSA

The Artists:

Eli Commins is a writer and director of live performances. He creates and stages non-linear, transformable texts that are usually an exploration of digital culture. Over the past years, he has devised a series of performances based on social networks (Redoubt, Breaking / Iran, Miranda Warning), a textual map where the audience bends a narrative's emotional states (Writing Spaces), immersive experiences, an opera, and, more recently, a serial sent via text-messages.

Christophe Bruno lives and works in Paris. He began his artistic activity in 2001. His polymorphic work (Internet pieces, installations, hacks, performances, conceptual pieces, drawing, sculpture…) has a critical take on network phenomena and globalization in the field of language and images. He divides his time between his artistic activity, curating, teaching and research, lectures and publications.

Nikolaus Wasmoen is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University at Buffalo, where he leads digital humanities workshops as well as and teaches classes on modernist literature, media studies, and the digital humanities. He also serves as Technical Director of the Marianne Moore Digital Archive.

Igor Vamos is a multimedia artist, leading member of The Yes Men, and an associate professor of media arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Valerie Cordy is the director of the Fabrique de Théâtre as well as theater director and digital artist. She graduated from the theater specialty of the INSAS in Brussels and has created, up to now, many performances, happenings, writings and stage directions (among them with the Collectif MéTAmorphoZ).

This event was organized with the collaboration of Faculty members and students from the Art Department, Media Study Department, English Department, and Political Science Department with the creative input and organizational support of the students of the Arts Management Program at UB.


November 11, 2016

Screening Room

Center for the Arts, SUNY at Buffalo, North Campus

Free and open to the public

Three Parts:

4 pm-5 pm 

A panel discussion commenting the election process through social media networks. Co-moderated by Harvey Palmer and Franck Bauchard

Tero Karppi

Assistant Professor of Media Theory, Dep of Media study, UB

Rebecca Bryan

PhD Student, research focus on political behavior, specifically political participation, social networks and social media.

Jacob Neiheisel

Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, UB

Nikolaus Wasmoen

Postdoctoral fellow in English, Digital Humanities at UB

Harvey D. Palmer

Associate Professor, Chair of the Department of Political Science

Franck Bauchard

Director of Techne Institute, Associate professor Arts management program

 5 pm -5.30 pm 

A presentation from Laura McGough

Laura McGough is a media art historian, curator and educator based in Buffalo, NY. Her presentation ‘Four more years: Election Interventions”, will be focused on artists using Live broadcast for elections since the seventies.

 5:30 pm-6 pm

Digital performance from Valérie Cordy

The Asteroid

Valérie Cordy uses the metaphor of the asteroid for her digital happenings, considering its fundamental characteristic of being, above all, an independent being, responding to the laws of mechanics, but not to those of orbital habits that the ether makes us think as immanent.

On stage, Valérie Cordy, through her asteroids, captures the flow of data in relation to the contexts and specific paths: disaster in Haiti, financial crisis, etc. Her asteroid integrates that flow to return it in a powerful live moment, thanks to digital technologies that enable to deconstruct this data and turn it into strong and meaningful messages, giving to decrypt the world differently

Valérie Cordy is the director of the Fabrique de Théâtre, as well as a theater director and digital artist.