Ria Hartley is an interdisciplinary performance artist, researcher and lecturer. Working within the mediums of performance, digital art, live art, video, photography, installation and social practices, Ria’s work focuses on interaction, participation, communication and exchange and investigates the relationships between audience/performer, space and situation. Her processes offer to engage anyone meaningfully, questioning human relationships as a model of an artwork. In her most recent works Ria has become fascinated with connectivity of people through online networks and social media sites. Here she aims to investigate the potential of connecting with people in both physical and virtual forms through a two week performance intervention by train across the UK.

The Train Project is an artist driven initiative aiming to provide a meeting ground for multiple users of rail and internet networks. The project explores the ways in which these everyday spaces can be used as a challenging environment to address issues regarding mobility and connectivity, as well as, to expand notions of what a performance can be. Along these networks, people move around and engage with their surroundings. The train project sparks an investigation of these familiar places, asking you to direct me in my helping us to rethink or re-imagine our experiences when in motion. This interactive and transient journey aims to capture the ‘brief encounters’ we have with strangers in everyday life.

There are two strands to this project which will run simultaneously. The first is the physical journey; this is the interactions I will have with people face-to-face. The second is the virtual journey; this is the interactions I will have with people through interface using popular online social media sites(facebook, Twitter etc). These two methods of connectivity aim to cross over and tie together the people online with the people I meet face-to-face, by asking those in physical space to join the online site and those online to meet up in physical space expanding a network of people and places. 

If you are interested in joining or following this project please join the Virtual Train Carriage on Facebook: www.facebook.com/thetrainproject  you can also follow this project on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/#!/TheTrainProject