[dance-tech] Re: FW: "Digital" Dance

  • From: Franck ANCEL <franck.ancel@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: john.mitchell@xxxxxxx, "dance-tech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <dance-tech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 20 Jan 2006 00:59:22 +0100 (CET)

> Message du 19/01/06 22:34
> De : "John D. Mitchell" <john.mitchell@xxxxxxx>
> A : "dance-tech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <dance-tech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Copie à : 
> Objet : [dance-tech] FW: "Digital" Dance
> Kirk,
> I tend to agree with your notion that making a distinction between digital
> dance and other kinds of dance and technology may not always be so useful.
> Many of us worked in the cross over period, when digital technologies were
> coming on line as computer capacity increased. My first interactive work,
> MISE in 1987-8 with choreographer Gary Lund, used analog sensors converted
> to MIDI using a FORTÃ Music MIDI chip. Was this digital dance? I suppose. By
> 1989 we were using Amiga computers to project real-time graphics, and used
> different typed of MIDI controllers (ACCESS MAPPER) for systems control of
> sound and image. 
> However these systems mirrored work created in the 60s by people like Cage,
> Cunningham, Robert Moog, Gordon Mumma, 


>David Tudor and others in Variations
> V, produced for German Television. This 1965 work had body sized therimins
> made by moog, film projections by Stan Vanderbeek, manipulated TV images by
> Nam June Paik, and a bank of reel-to-reel tape machines controlled
> interactively by photo sensors! Sensor systems were designed by Billy
> KlÃver, who went on to form the EAT group with Rauschenberg  and others in
> the next year (and eventually created the nine evenings mentioned by Simon).
> Today I see a lot of efforts that mirror to some degree work done on analog
> systems in the 60Âs and earlier. It seems that new technologies often begin
> life recreating what has already been done.
> Incidentally, in 1989 KlÃver and Rauschenberg got together again to create a
> system for Trisha BrownÂs Astral Convertible. IÂm not sure if it was digital
> or analog, but I believe that it could have been done with an all analog
> system. It ran on car batteries so it could be performed in a roman
> amphitheater in Spain that did not have electricity..
> I wonder if it would be more informative (and perhaps more illusive) to
> think about the history/evolution of the conception and practice of dance
> and technology, with the digital/analog question seen as part of that
> discourse. After all, digital will be obsolete one day.
> To answer some of JohannesÂs and SimonÂs questions. Workshops at ASU started
> in 2000, the year after we hosted IDAT99., and just after ADaPT was formed.
> We have recently decided to share these summer workshops between four
> institutions (U Utah, U Illinios, U Wisc Milwakee and ASU) starting next
> year, and will move from site to site each year. We are taking this summer
> off in order to plan more effectively for next year which will be held in
> Utah.
> CyberArts has had dance occasionally but starting last year a group of
> artists began an Âofficial dance component to Cyberarts that they are
> committed to continuing, called Ideas in Motion. ISEA has had many
> performance technology related events over the years. It would take some
> research to pull them all up but there is documentation at least.
> Here in Arizona the Institute for Studies in the Arts was formed in 1990 and
> we staged our first interactive dance/theater/music performance in 1991. It
> was also the first time MAX was used in a stage performance on this campus.
> Over the next decade the Institute supported quite a bit of work in dance
> and technology, too long to go into here. But what may be of interest to
> Simon is that we built our own motion analysis, or vision system, created by
> Robb Lovell, to control sound, images and even video. At first we used Amiga
> computers and the CMT MIDI tool kit developed by Roger Dannenberg at
> Carnigie Mellon. We output midi to MAC computers running MAX, or to other
> Amiga computers running animations. The first publicly performed work with
> this system was created in 1992. A couple of years later this system was
> ported to an SGI Indigo (running at a whopping 50Mhz) and used serial data
> to connect directly to MacÂs running sound (MIDI-based) and controlling
> laser disc players (analog), video switching and other stuff. This system
> was used in a collaboration with Montanaro Dance in 1994-5, and the piece we
> created, Time in the Eye of the Needle, was performed at ISEA95 in Montreal.
> This vision system was eventually ported to the Mac, and Robb made it
> available for a while online, although I do not know what the state of it is
> now.
> Thecla Schiphorst did a lot of work in dance and technology in the early
> 90Âs as well. Besides her well known work with Life Forms, she also
> co-organized a couple of early dance and technology labs called the Shadow
> Project at Simon Fraser University. I was involved in the second year, and
> others there included John Crawford, Louis Demers, Michael Century, and
> others. OK, IÂve gone on long enough, but I do agree with Simon that it is
> time (and possible now) to try and centralize information in the interest of
> creating really new possibilities and capabilities. What is the first step?
> Best,
> jdm
> ------ Forwarded Message
> From: Kirk Woolford <phred@xxxxxxxxxxx>
> Reply-To: <phred@xxxxxxxxxxx>
> Date: Thu, 19 Jan 2006 13:55:22 +0000
> To: "dance-tech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <dance-tech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Subject: [dance-tech] "Digital" Dance
> As an ammendum to the last message on the history of digital dance, I
> have to say I find the whole term quite curious. In 1994, I produced
> two videos for Charleroi Danses' "Ex Machina". In 1996, I built a
> live tracking system for "Moving Target" -- again, by Charleroi
> Danses. The videos I made for "Ex Machina" were created on a
> Macintosh Quadra using a very early version of Adobe Premiere. This
> was almost an entirely digital process, however the end product was
> "video" so most people would consider the performance a piece of
> "video dance". On the otherhand, "Moving Target" had a Silicon
> Graphics computer sitting up in the lighting box and projected live,
> computer-generated images onto the stage (at least during the initial
> performances) , so most people would consider it "digital dancing".
> Unfortunately, by this definition, neither of the two pieces I
> mentioned earlier, Dumb Type's "*OR*" and Cunningham/Riverbed's "Hand
> Drawn Spaces" qualify as "digital dance". Many people are willing to
> call "*OR*" video dance, but they insist that "Hand Drawn Spaces" is
> digital, not because digital technologies were involved in it's
> creation. It is, after all, just a video projected on stage with the
> performers.  "Hand Drawn Spaces" is digital dance because it looks
> the way we expect digital dance to look. It's not photo-realistic.
> It's abstract, with saturated colours against a flat background.
> In other words, is "digital dance" a technical term, or is it an
> aesthetic?
> -k
> ------ End of Forwarded Message

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