As my background is theatre and dance, my thinking is largely influenced by stage concepts, and how the 'stage" is created and comes alive in the mise en scène of a performance or an installation.
The digital dispositif - and here we think of the comprehensive environment for an interactive/real time performance or a participatory installation or mixed reality installation - offers an expanded notion of the stage. Due to the nature of the media and data flows involved (sound, video, graphics, etc), the performance range of "actors" - of the cast - extends to all elements and combinations of elements that are capturable and networkable. In terms of the networked environment created, along with recording/capturing technologies inserted, the performance of live media is re-presentable or transferable to multiple frameworks, if we think of screenings, live performance, instalation, television,online publication, telematics/telepresence, and various forms of digital dissemination (DVD, CD, tapes, mp3, etc).
During our discussions, Suzon brought the notion of "platform" into the round, and I would invite her to elaborate on her ideas here.
What came to the foreground on Day 4 (affecting the start up of Day 5) was a certain methodological restriction or limitation arising from the tracking stage (platform) as the primary device, so to speak. From the methodological perspective, the work done on the programming of a patch (using tracking camera and projector image down onto the white dance floor) set the scene, so to speak, and the patch designer then asked some of the performers to create an improvisation inside the nervous environment (I am refering to the historical precedent of David Rokeby's naming of his first interactional sensory sound environment as "very nervous system") - and Thursday evening this environment was created by Wendy Chu.
Here is an image from the performance on this platform, which ran on an Isadora patch using several actors (Eyes ++, Blob Decoder, Envelope generator, Mosaic, etc) that take the tracking information to disturb/manipulate the dotted grid pattern, an abstract patter, that is the base image of the projection. When human actors enter the platform, the graphic projection on the floor surface becomes animated.
(dotted landscape with music performer Victor Zappi in the center and Julia Alsarraff, on viola, on the left; James Cunningham is "upstage" and as yet invisible as the digital projection was the only light source, with the exception of a floor lamp stage right, which is visible here. Victor is operating the illuminated sound box in front of him. To be more precise, the illuminated box is a monome, a real-time step sequencer made up of a grid of backlit buttons that can be utilized for a number of applications, the most common of which is music performance. It is used to trigger and retrigger samples or sample sets, but can also be used as a generative instrument that runs self-effecting or self-sufficient patterns, or to control effects and envelopes).
Now, in computer science the term platform is used rather specifically in regard to computation, to platform theory, operation systems, tools, resources, principles and concepts related to coding. In the new media arts and social network contexts, the term refers to online or networked and (collaboratively generated) discursive platforms which can draw from a large range of fields of knowledge. For example, the courses in curating offered at the University of Fine Arts Zurich, describe their curatorial philosophy as follows:
The program focuses less on the ‘genius concept’ of the exhibition planner as individual author – a highly controversial topic since the 1990s – than on cooperative, interdisciplinary working methods, as employed, for example, in film productions or non-government organizations. Exhibition-making / curating means the creation of innovative structures for the presentation of cultural artefacts through interdisciplinary collaboration. In this field, art, digital media, design, and architecture intermesh in new ways. The manner of working employed by curators, artists, architects, designers, museum educationalists and writers has become increasingly unified, bringing about new forms of mediation, lounges, archives, reading rooms and new virtual forums – and with them new means of access and forms of interpretation. At the same time, we are witnessing a shift in the organization of work processes throughout society. Individual areas of action are merging on new meta-levels, namely those of networks and know-how transfer.
This conceptual overview – focussed on curating here but relating equally strongly to artistic creation and production and experimental research in the arts/sciences – bears directly on our lab process and discussions and the collaborative and processual aspects of the work and its manifestations. It has become clear that in our reflections we must ponder and address the changes in the processes of production, if we seek to position our work to specific audiences or to audiences at all.
But since our work experiments take place in the studio, there is a primarily physical (and site specific) architecture involved; the manifestations that happen here are at the same time recorded, discursively reflected, photographed/filmed and blogged/diffused. Digital components and patches can be crossed and exchanged, and this inter-connected method has been called cross-patching by Anne Nigten, the director of t
(choreographic exercise, Friday morning, with Julia Alsaraff, Sara Kraft, Helene Lesterlin, James Cunningham)
In an interview with Paul Kaiser, Forsythe states:
In the next section, I will try to depart from this Forsythe commentary and look at specific differences in contemporary dance between what Forsythe calls "experience in space" and what we, on the morning of Day 6, begin to see as a proper proprioceptive challenge of performing with an augmented reality environment or platform which is nervous, dynamic/responsive and generatively alive.
(to be continued)