First presented at the Buffalo Infringement Festival, 26 July - 2 August, 2007
When Andy Warhol suggested that everyone would be famous for 15 minutes, he could have hardly expected the contemporary environment in which digital networking sites (e.g., YouTube, Myspace, and Facebook), so-called reality television, and performance-based video games (e.g., Rock Star, WOW) created 24-hour cycles of daily fame. Yet, while everyone is perpetually floating in and out of their own self-actualized fame cycles, stars, celebrities, and other exceptionally famous people continue to dominate American culture. If everyone is temporarily famous, many are modeling themselves on the fame elite, otherwise known as, The Diva.
D-I-Y Diva literalizes the fantasy, projection, and embodiment inherent in such notions of celebrity and stardom in a participatory, real-time virtually created personalized Diva. Drawing both from the elite Diva tradition, and the contemporary "fame-for-all" movement, D-I-Y Diva offers participants the opportunity to create their own Digital Diva persona, and to perform that persona for an audience.
The performance is introduced by two versions of Digital Divas, created by Josephine Anstey and Melissa Berman. Both performances are self-contained articulations of the Diva persona, using song and original material to highlight the self-absorption and obsession of the Diva figure. Using a networked virtual embodiment, both pieces appear as embodied performances with a virtual projection of the ego following the movements of the actors.
Once demonstrated, spectators are invited to create their own Diva persona. Audience members select the features for their digital projections and can either create their own text, or select existing quotations from a range of Diva personae (including Winston Churchill, Gloria Swanson, Paris Hilton, and Muhammad Ali, among others). The spectator-cum-Diva then performs the newly created persona, thus literalizing the fantasy inherent in the star.