Internet as Playground and Factory

Ursula Endlicher


Since the mid-90s the Internet has had an impact on Ursula Endlicher’s practice, which bridges the Web and physical reality. She uses the Web’s 'hidden' languages— its HTML code—to choreograph performances, visualizes HTML in installations, and translates it into sound.

Her work was recently shown at Light Industry, Brooklyn; at Theater am Neumarkt in Zürich, Switzerland; at Quartier21/Museumsquartier, Vienna, Austria; at BM-Suma Contemporary Art Center in Istanbul, Turkey; at Woodstreet Galleries, Pittsburgh, PA; and at the LMCC Swing Space@Seaport in New York. She received commissions from Radio and Performing Arts, Inc., and from the Whitney Museum for its artport website. Her work is included in Rhizome’s Art Base, and in the ursula blicke videoarchiv at Kunsthalle Wien, Austria. Endlicher has lectured about her work internationally and has contributed to several publications about net art, performance and interactivity; she discusses these topics on her blog, Curating Netart, which she runs together with Ela Kagel. She was born in Vienna, Austria and lives in New York since 1993.

For biographical information for Burak Arkan please refer to his entry on the conference's website.


For the conference I will be staging a performance, which will translate XML (an XML-based language) into dance movements. The code “behind” the Web will be made visual, physical and “experiential”.
My artwork resides on the intersection of Internet, performance and installation; previous works include a net art piece called “html_butoh”, and a live performance series called “Website Impersonations”, both translate HTML tags from “live” code into movements.

In the performance series dancers were creating new dance movements based on the functionality of HTML tags; the dance vocabulary was added to an online archive, the “html-movement-library”, and reused on stage by other dancers. The audience played an active role during these shows as well: they were invited to interpret the dance movements they were watching into descriptions, brief sentences, and add them to the ever growing html movement alphabet.

Trebor Scholz introduced me to Burak Arikan, asking both of us if we might be interested working on a performance piece together for the conference. The plan is to perform ULML (user-labor mark-up language), based on Burak Arikan’s website "", at the conference.

Here are some of the next steps in the process: I will extend my current html-movement-library and include ULML tags. I will practice with my performers and introduce this new content, based on the ULML grammar, to them. Burak suggested using also data from an ULML stream, which is getting updated from a running system.

In the presentation/show the participants, the audience, the students, will all be able to submit "movement descriptions"–describe what the lead dancer will create from scratch–and submit this to the database, to be used again by the second dancer. The returned data from the live-stream will be used as well and together with the submissions influence the course of the show, and co-create a new physical representation of the Web.