esther ainsworth | e_s_t




| chatroom drama |


| play sound performance |


>> chat

2005 - london live and direct (internet radio)

>start chat > > hello: radio chat is an experiment in the production of non-linear forms of radio concentrating on the role of the chatroom.

a performance of the piece took place at internet radio station londonliveanddirect on sunday 21 march 2004.

> est says: go to for operating online demo…


whilst using a chatroom at work, i became aware of it as a social space, and became interested in the differences between chatrooms and social space in real life. i wanted to explore what would happen if these two social spaces were to entwine.

this piece is a radio drama. the intention is to remove a chatroom conversation from its original context. by doing so, it is hoped that strange and unusual environments will be created, concentrating on differences between conversations in the real and the virtual world. the radio drama is generated from real chatroom activity as it happens.

live performers read from chatroom text. each performer takes the role of one of the users in the chatroom. pace, language, and font of the users in the chatroom dictate their actions and role. as the chatroom conversation progresses, the actors read out the diction in the same way they would read out a play script or transcript. as people appear and disappear from the chatroom the performers do the same.

the drama can never be the same, or repeated, as its content is ephemeral. by removing the chatroom from its context and transforming it into a situation with real human beings, it is hoped that our understanding of interaction in cyberspace will be challenged.

>>> theory……

in the chatroom, we find an aesthetic experience. constant movement, the appearance and disappearance of text and with it the presence of characters. the rhythm at which the text is moving constantly changes and is ill fitting with the speed at which we communicate verbally in every day life. waiting for someone to respond can evoke anxiousness between chatters, and at the same time, we are completely free to get up and walk off half way through a conversation without any explanation.

the seen and unseen, the way in which we are freely able to develop a fake confidence based on the fact that our anonymity is constant. this means that not only do we freely talk to random strangers, but also we can be far more daring as there is no come back. we can maintain distance and the ability to leave at any point. it is therefore so much easier than dealing with a real person.

gestures are replaced by emphasised text. a new vocabulary is formed from our inability to say anything with feeling or convey it. communication between friends in the cyber realm is completely different. there is the tendancy to be more upfront, say things you normally would not.

we are actually addressing the computer in solitude. the implications that people prefer to be alone for 24 hours without real human contact and yet may spend hours chatting to someone online, and yet in real life never have anything to say to this person.











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