ABSTRACT

Presence is constituted in the complex network of relationships the subject establishes with the physical and/or digital world they inhabit. Integral to presence, as Nick Kaye and I discussed in our monograph Performing Presence: between the Live and the Simulated, is what is before or in front of the subject, both spatially and temporally (Giannachi and Kaye 2011: 4-9). Also integral is the performance the subject undergoes as part of this process. Discourse on environment and ecology should therefore play a crucial role in the analysis of presence. As we know, environment indicates the surroundings or conditions in which a person, animal, or plant lives or operates. On the other hand, ecology indicates a branch of biology that is concerned with the relations of organisms to each other and to their surroundings. So, an environmental interpretation of presence foregrounds the set of circumstances that surround the occurrence of presence, while an ecological reading of presence foregrounds how presence may operate as a relational tool between organisms. In this chapter I will present an analysis of presence from environmental and ecological perspectives, propose a framework for the interpretation of presence within this context, and offer an interdisciplinary reading of a number of artworks that can be broadly categorized as environmental and/or ecological, and that are signifi cant in terms of presence research.