Performing algorithmic power: 'Dysconnect' as digital political dramaturgy

Fromell, Amanda (2020). Performing algorithmic power: 'Dysconnect' as digital political dramaturgy. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This Practice-led PhD conducts a research enquiry into how dramaturgical practices can be used to challenge the ‘power of algorithms’ and facilitate political agency. The central argument is that algorithmic power can be challenged through a dramaturgical form that itself ‘performs algorithmically’. By entering into the networks and deploying the same coding structures through which algorithmic power operates, such a dramaturgical form seeks to provide audiences with discomforting experiences that illuminate power structures, invite reflection and provoke action. This thesis is pursued through the development and analysis of Dysconnect, an interactive theatre app that acts as a playing device for seven individual ‘podplays’. The app generates algorithmically constructed ‘digital side effects’ that mimic and enact algorithmic power over the listener in order to invite reflection and action. Dysconnect instantiates a ‘digital political dramaturgy’. This is presented as a novel dramaturgical framework that combines a dispersed dramaturgy, a dramaturgy of visibility, political dramaturgies and digital side effects. The thesis contributes to knowledge by developing and defining the concept of a ‘podplay’, developing a ‘digital political dramaturgy’ as a way of challenging algorithmic power, and creating Dysconnect, a new form of app theatre.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of English, Drama and Creative Studies, Department of Drama and Theatre Arts
Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater


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