CPA [Consistent Partial Attention]

Freya Björg Olafson

Medium: Live Internet Performance and Video
Issues: Dance, Found Footage, and The Body

Project Links


This video returns the 60-minute stage work CPA [Consistent Partial Attention] to the internet, in a condensed version broadcast from Olafson’s studio in Winnipeg over Skype. CPA is an exercise in ‘nowness’; the performer engages in the act of real-time translation of data/movement vocabulary from a video score of dances that were found on YouTube. Societal engagement with everyday media remains a cornerstone of Olafson’s work investigating contemporary culture and the body as inextricably linked with technology. The integration of technology in live performance is an ongoing dynamic negotiation, which continues to inform the thematic content of Olafson’s work. Using the fluctuations and oscillations apparent in computer/body interfaces; Olafson’s work permits a ‘cyborg’ viewing – a hybrid and highly unstable presentation of body-as-dis / place(ed) which, in its unpredictability, activates various possibilities for viewing. Developed through digital collage, the CPA [Consistent Partial Attention] performance is guided by a video score of pre-existing / found Internet footage of individuals improvising in their homes. The performer sight-reads the choreographic video score off diverse screens: laptop, external monitors, video projector and heads-up displays. Through the rich confluence of sources, dance is experienced as a vernacular, learned language, permeating and crossing communities, provoking consideration upon the evolution of dance in the age of the Internet. Curious about returning these dances originally found on the web back to the internet as a site for performance, this video is the result of research created in 2017. CPA was presented by the Cluster Festival of New Music & Integrated Arts in Winnipeg in March 2017, OFFTA in Montreal in June 2017 and represented Canada at Les Jeux De La Francophonie in Ivory Coast, Africa in July 2017.


Freya Björg Olafson is an intermedia artist who works with video, audio, painting and performance. Her praxis engages with identity and the body, as informed by technology and the Internet. Olafson’s work has been presented and exhibited internationally at venues such as the Bauhaus Archiv (Berlin), SECCA – SouthEastern Center for Contemporary Art (North Carolina), Ochoymedio (Quito, Guayaquil and Manta in Ecuador), The National Arts Center / Canada Dance Festival (Ottawa), and Onassis Cultural Center (Athens, Greece). Her video work has screened in festivals and galleries internationally and is distributed by Video Pool Media Arts Centre, Winnipeg. Olafson has benefitted from residencies, most notably through EMPAC – Experimental Media & Performing Arts Center (New York), Oboro (Montreal), and Counterpulse (San Francisco). The recipient of numerous grants and awards, her honors include the ‘Buddies in Bad Times Vanguard Award for Risk and Innovation’ at Toronto’s SummerWorks festival and the ‘Making A Mark Award’ from the Winnipeg Arts Council; additional nominations include the National Media Arts Prize (2015), the Sobey Art Award (2017) and the Manitoba Arts Council ‘Award of Distinction’(2019).