Digital spectatorship, social media & performance: aesthetic sociality & performative archiving 

Ms. Marielle Pelissero, FNRS researcher, is currently leading a research project within the département Cinéma et Arts du spectacle de la Faculté de Lettres, Traduction et Communication, concerning the digital activity of spectators during live performances (promoters: Pr. Karel Vanhaesebrouck and Pr. Clément Bert-Erboul).  The study focuses on content shared on Instagram during live performances in Brussels.

o This project’s fieldworks consist in observation, collection of digital material (Instagram data) on the occasion of selection of events happening in Brussels, Belgium.

o Methodology used: digital observation and collection (details in the Personal Data Protection PDF)

– Creation of a specific Instagram account to connect with users, collect their consent and any questions or requests they may have.

– Outreach before and after the performances: handing out flyers introducing the research and providing a QR code to access the research’s Instagram account.

– Collection and processing of data

o Inclusion criteria:

– Participation in a selected event (case study) as an audience member

– Consent. (see below)

             Exclusion criteria:

– absence of consent

– request to end the participation.

o Duration of the research project: November, 1st 2021 – October 31st 2024

The duration of each fieldwork will range from two days to six days.

The first case study will take place between 2022.05.12 and 2022.05.16. This case study will focus on choreographer Cherish Menzo’s performance “Darkmatter” presented in Beursschouwburg as part of the KunstenFestival des Arts, Brussels.

Purpose of the proposed research:

The purpose of this collection and other processing by the researcher (ULB is responsible for data processing) – analysis and publication – is to conduct scientific research on digital activity on Instagram by spectators in relation to live performances.

With cellphones and social media, audience sociality comes and goes between IRL (In Real Life) and digital. This study explores these new practices of hybrid socialities of audience. A better consideration of audience socialities, online and offline can help redefining boundaries between art and activism. The study will thus focus on politics of visibility and preservation of margin cultures and minority communities.

The research will result in:

– Publication of articles presenting the results of the study in specialist or popular journals
– Communication of the results of the study at congresses and/or carrying out any activity allowing their dissemination

– Use of the results in university teaching
– Re-use of the data collected for further studies in the same field of research

Risks and benefits of the research for the individual

 – Advancement of scientific knowledge

– Personal reflection on one’s own digital activity

– Highlighting of the aesthetic and political dimension of this activity

– There won’t be any financial compensation or costs to the individual participating individuals.

The consent of the participants

– Consent is provided by following the Instagram research account, @digitalspectator. When users choose to follow the @digitalspectator account(non astories and the personal data related to it.

– Participants have the possibility of withdrawing consent at any time by contacting the Instagram research account: @digitalspectator

or the research manager:

– Withdrawal has no impact on the care/opportunities of participants

The research team and practical information

Research Manager: Dr. Pelissero Marielle, FNRS, ULB CiASp

Sponsor: Pr. Vanhaesebrouck, Karel, ULB, CiASp

Co-sponsor: Pr. Bert-Erboul, Clément, ULB, RESIC

I, the undersigned PELISSERO Marielle, declare that I am responsible for the conduct of this research project and confirm that the participant has received all the information concerning this study and that he/she has not been forced to participate.
I undertake to comply with the obligations set out in this document and also to inform the participant of any element that might change the nature of his/her consent.

Marielle Pelissero,

May 11, 2022