Tag Archives: Dance Technology

Intermedia Compositions

As a class we shared what Intermedia means to us, in a few words like:
“Connections, immersive, sensory, imaginative, siborg, collaboration, something about light, something about layers, virtual, reality, expanded space, changing ideas about space and time, inclusive and almost timelss, innovative, containes multitudes, new forms of reality, where man meets machine, “the medium is the message,” toybox, AI, furutism, digital frontier, building (comma) Creation (comma) (comma) information.”

To me Intermedia compasses all of the above. But most importantly I find it to be enhancive of people’s sensations: visual, aural, kinesthetic at times, and definitely physical. I say definitely physical because I feel that moving images in an intimate space create a sense of embodiment in audience’s experience.

The first project we collaborated was surrounding the theme of representation. Representation is a very complex and complicated era of performance theory, and even more so when it is mediated or at times transformed through technology. I am looking forward to grapple with and discover more questions regarding this topic.

In our first study, I was programming the interactive media software Isadora. (you can see a screen shot of a patch example below!) I am finding this program to be an incredible resource for making interactive experiences. I want to become stronger in programming Isadora software and explore different ways in which it can be implemented.

Patch Screen shot

We played with overlaid and digitally manipulated textures. It sort of became “about” elements; Air, Water, Soil, Steel, Fire. Our collaboration flowed easily and our group dynamic was strong. We were creative, responsive, and responsible.

After our showing our audience shared with what they noticed: soothing, contrast, flow, rolling, cozy, floating, contesting, magic, illusion, visually gorgeous, activation of the space, strong design, and scene oriented.

We chatted for a few minutes about the choice to watch people moving live and/or on screen. It is an interesting dialogue between live human performance in real space and live human performance manipulated and watched on screen.

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Our collaborative group just began working on generating movement from found and gathered textures. Below is a short film of what we have been exploring and playing with.

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It has been a great opportunity and privilege to collaborate with an extremely talented and creative team. I have realized that I greatly enjoy and benefit from a collaborative process both in improving artistic ways and developing personal skills. I wish to continue expanding my learning in this way of making. I hope to be able to do more collaboration outside the scope of this class.

 

Reflections on class viewings:

FASE, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and Steve Reich, 1982. 

Two dancers lit from different angles to create three shadows behind them on a screen. The shadows multiply the performers to 5 and enlarge the volume of activities. My favorite thing about it is how the shadow in the middle is made out of both performers’ shadows. Their dancing is so synchronized that the eyes can barely keep the two shadows apart. It is as if they have merged and become one performer. I have studied Steve Reich’s Piano Phase during my music degree education. The way it works is that one pianist starts playing a repetitive short phrase and after a few repeats the second pianist enters with another repetitive phrase. One pianist ever so slightly speaks up, so that the other pianist will behind one note. This change of speed results in creating different overlaying pattern. This websites visualizes this process: http://www.pianophase.com Similarly, the choreography has repetitive patterns and when one dancer speeds up the overlaying shadows merge differently. Together, the music and the choreography  manipulate the visuals on the wall, disrupting our expectations in the repetitive pattern.  

 

Veronique, Jerome Bel, 2005.

It is unique enough to have one ballerina stand in a quotidian way on the grand stage of Opera de Paris, let alone for her to speak about her life and vulnerable experiences. Ballet is traditionally a presentational performance during which the dancers entertain the audience, most often by not being themselves (for example as other characters). Here, we get to know Veronique. We also get to empathize with her movement by hearing her fast breathing. The use of audio as a technological medium here is not only the most significant but also essential. Veronique’s voice is as much part of this solo performance as her dancing.  

FAR, Random Dance, Wayne McGregor 

It is difficult to get a sense of the entire piece because of the way that the excerpt is edited. What I see: curves, skin, contacts, partnering, give and take, push and pull, relationships, exhilarating, angular, snapshots, lines, silhouette, speed. The LED lights in the back add to these elements by amplifying or diminishing the dancers’ movements. Again, it was hard for me to get a feel of its flow, but knowing a little about McGregor it must be intense, physical, and fast. Similar to the function of LEDs.   

I had already watched McGregor’s Ted talk before (I am actually quite a fan of him!). However, this time I noticed his language about the body. He mentioned “technology of the body” and referred to the body as “the most technologically literate thing that we have.” He said that making a dance is like “physical thinking” and having a “kinesthetic intelligence.” He quickly chose a “dance stimuli”, in order to come up with movement. This way of thinking, made him become very quick in decision making, thinking, moving, and creating, almost as fast as technology works!  

It is always great to watch videos I’ve seen before after a year and a half of graduate school!! I find it super problematic that McGregor called his dancers “architectural objects…what they are; just pure lines…no longer people…objects to think with.” Is it because when he switches to “physical thinking” and imagining bodies as technologies, he fails to recognize his dancers as people and subjects with agency?