Miguel Escobar Varela, PhD
I am a web developer, translator and theatre researcher who has lived in Mexico, The Netherlands, Singapore and Indonesia. I work as Assistant Professor of Theatre Studies at the National University of Singapore and Academic Advisor on Digital Scholarship at the NUS Libraries. I also direct the Contemporary Wayang Archive and convene Digital Humanities Singapore. My main research interests are Indonesian theatre and digital humanities. If you want to get in touch, please drop me a line: contact [at] miguelescobar.com or follow me @migueljogja.
Digital Research Projects:
My PhD dissertation on contemporary Indonesian theatre was awarded the Wang Gungwu Medal for the best dissertation in Humanities and Social Sciences (2015), and an honorary mention in the Award for Excellence in Digital Theatre and Performance Scholarship 2016 by ATHE. It is available at wayangkontemporer.com
The Contemporary Wayang Archive (CWA) is a digital archive of new versions of Java's oldest performance tradition: wayang kulit. This archive includes full-length video recordings, performance data, translations, and notes by the editors and translators of how the performances were received in their original context.
The Interactive Wayang Screen (with Daniel Sim) is a Tangible User Interface for the Contemporary Wayang Archive that uses traditional components of the Javanese wayang kulit puppet theatre and Arduino sensors. It received the award for Best Contribution to Creative Communication by ACM Creativity and Cognition 2017.
The Biomechanical analysis of Javanese dance (with Luis Hernández Barraza) is a portal that uses biomechanical measurements (such as range of motion) to analyze differences among character types in Javanese dance. Character typology is a central concept in Javanese dance discourse and this project aims to bring together a biomechanical analytical toolkit and Javanese intellectual traditions of dance scholarship.
The Digital Wayang Encyclopedia is a data-driven online dictionary of the main characters and storylines of Javanese wayang kulit theatre. It includes network visualizations and quantitative analyses of character relations.
M. Escobar Varela and Nala H. Lee. 'Language documentation: a reference point for theatre and performance archives?' (With Nala H. Lee) in International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media Vol. 14, No 1 (2018), pp. 17-33.
M. Escobar Varela and Gea Oswah Fatah Parikesit. 'A Quantitative Close Analysis of a Theatre Video Recording' in Digital Scholarship in the Humanities Vol. 32, No 2 (2017), pp. 276-283.
'From Copper-Plate Inscriptions to Interactive Websites: Documenting Javanese Wayang Theatre' in Toni Sant (ed) Documenting Performance: The Context and Processes of Digital Curation and Archiving (London; New York: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2017), pp. 203–14.
'The Archive as Repertoire: Transience and Sustainability in Digital Archives', in Digital Humanities Quarterly, Vol. 10, No. 4 (2016).
'Heirlooms of the Everyday: The Material Performances of Slamet Gundono' in Theatre Research International, Vol. 41 No. 1 (2016), pp. 53-69.
'Hacking and Rehearsing, Experiments in Creative Tinkering' in New Theatre Quarterly, Vol. 32, No. 01 (2016), pp. 68-77.
'Interoperable Performance Research: Promises and Perils of the Semantic Web' in TDR, Vol. 60, No. 3 (2016), pp. 136-147.
'The essay/ontology workflow, challenges in combining formal and interpretive methods' in Digital Scholarship in the Humanities, Vol. 31, No. 1 (2016), pp. 84-94.
'Wayang Hip Hop: Java's Oldest Performance Tradition Meets Global Youth Culture' in Asian Theatre Journal, Vol. 31, No. 2 (2014), pp. 481-504.
M. Escobar Varela and Paul Rae 'International, A Dialogue' in Contemporary Theatre Review, Special Issue: The Politics, Processes and Practices of Editing, Vol. 25, Issue 1 (2015).
'Between Radical Adaptation and Strategic Adaptability: Ki Catur "Benyek" Kuncoro in Conversation with Miguel Escobar' in Margherita Laera (ed), Theatre and Adaptation: Return, Rewrite, Repeat (London: Methuen, 2014).
'The Intermedial Interrogation of Memory' in Performance Research, Vol. 17, Issue 3 (2012), pp. 33-38.
'Nieuwe-mediafestivals als Voedingsbodem voor Diversiteit' [New Media Festivals as Seedbeds for Diversity] in Boekman Tijdsdschrrft, Vol. 83 (2010), pp. 88-92.
'Ruang Rupa: Experimental Video Workshops and Activism in Indonesia' in Paul de Buryne and Pascal Gielen (eds), Community Art: The Politics of Trespassing (Amsterdam: Valiz, 2010), pp. 287-298.
Papers in academic conferences
I am often a guest performer/rapper with Wayang Hip Hop in Indonesia (Second from left in the image).
I was a performer in The Mountain (dir. Felipe Cervera), in the 2014 M1 Singapore Fringe Festival: Art and the People (Second from left in the image).