[dance-tech] Re: Glow / dance projection

  • From: "Matt Gough" <mpgough@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: kate@xxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 26 Feb 2008 21:39:55 +0000

hello all,

just a brief one to clarify ... its not my statement (as such) i
should have given more context. or perhaps it got lost in the
re-posting / replies. the entire quote (from gideon) is this:

«i was wondering whether it 's possible for the video projector to
understand where the dancer is. [...] i [had] in the past been using
pre rendered video [...] i met frieder in monaco and we began talking
and i began to understand a little bit about his software tracking
systems. and [i] realized that it was possible to actually achieve
what i wanted to do without pre rendered video, and to free the
dancer, both in time and space.»

what i tried to do with my post was not review, but give context to
the video.  the only intended critique is of the 'digital' in 'digital
expressionism' (from marlon, not gideon). the label is misplaced and
makes for a misleading framing (but the work is 'expressionist').

it is a shame there is not a full transcript. it would also be great
to hear from frieder and (at least) one of the performers.

my thoughts on 'perspective' were an observation rather than a
judgment. it is interesting how the frame is flattened, and then given
depth by the dancer.

your example of google maps is good. the map is a top down
'flattening' but the push pins for locations are in a '3d' perspective
(they even have shadows). this is why i alluded to the renaissance

the painterly references were to give a clear example of why it is not
'digital' expressionism. and, the fact that these are not just
'abstract' shapes is important. we seem to be moving away from
technologies used to show 'technological aesthetics'

with regards to johannes saying:

" the apparatus (male machinery and on the floor a woman slithering in
the maelstrom of powerful machining) predictable"

gideon says the work was intended to be made on a man, but scheduling
issues prevented that. although he admits he struggles to 'see' the
work on a man now.

it is easy to get stuck in the pitfalls of gendered perspectives.

in case there are no first hand replies ... below are some excerpts
from reviews. it would be good to continue talking about «glow» and
the issues / contexts it raises.




Stephanie Glickman      
australian stage

[glow] works as a successful blending of computer and human form, with
neither element overshadowing the other.

Sara Black is the exceptional solo dancer [...] who inhabits the
space. She transforms, thrashes, swoons, at times, vocalizes through a
half hour of grueling physicality. [...] She is fully absorbed and
embodied, even in moments of repose.

[glow is] certainly abstract, but there are more than enough images
that stimulate, provoke, repulse and attract. The performance feels
complete and is a great (and rare!) example of the possibilities for
dance and new media collaboration.


youth central

"Is it contemporary dance or an exorcism on the dance floor?" I kept
wondering as I watched one tall, leggy, dancer embrace the floor.

It felt like I was watching The Exorcist on stage, as the dancer
rolled across the floor, in a painful, hatred fuelled movement. Her
eyes were glassy, and fixed on the audience, in an awkward
I'm-compelled-to-look-away-but-just-can't moment.

There were random spurts of incoherent dialogue that added to the pain
expressed, as she screeched and stretched her physical form to the


jennifer dunning
new york times

Later [Ms. Ayre] will be part of the pattern of black fretwork
sweeping across a now-white floor. Often her body is scored with faint
lines like the ripples in water silk. At times she seems to be
morphing into light or, at one point, being edged toward the boundary
of her rectangular world by dark, shifting shapes.

There are moments when Ms. Ayre just moves, without inciting light
patterns, as when she seems to be softly jerking away from a cloud of
gnats. She cries out occasionally, most unnervingly in a guttural,
choking voice. Her pauses suggest a physical and spiritual exhaustion.

[glow] does not reveal any larger theme. The creature played by Ms.
Ayre, who alternates in the role with Sara Black, does not seem to be
affected by her half-hour in this eerie though frequently handsome
world. In that sense "Glow" is a light show, though a provocative one.


international herald tibune

There's a mood throughout the work that gives the sense that humans
are not involved. The projections are void of any humanlike qualities
except for screeches from Black as she struggles through crippling
movements and vague attempts to sound out words while moving from one
side of the stage to the other.

But a magical moment reminds us of humanity when Black makes snow
angels on the surprisingly flat surface. The light leaves dark traces
of where her arms and legs scrape the surface.


david barbour
light and sound america

In Glow, a dancer contorts herself into any number of bizarre
positions on top of a video screen placed on the floor. She interacts
with a motion-tracking device that triggers the video projector above.
The result is a series of stunning juxtapositions of the human body
with starkly abstract, black-and-white images.

At times, the dancer's body is outlined in a white border, as you
might see at a crime scene. Later, she is seen against a series of
abstract line patterns. And then there are the unsettling black forms,
whose appearance combines with Luke Smiles' sound cues to disturbing


chris boyd
the morning after

A few times, I was reminded of early works by Alwin Nikolais. Nikolais
would have smiled his famous smile to see the imaginary elastics that
Limosani pushed at and stretched like something out of Tensile
Involvement (1953) or the imaginary shroud, as in Water Studies

Described like this, the lighting sounds like a series of stunning,
but inessential effects. Incidental effects. But, no. Like all of
Obarzanek's recent theatre works, Glow continually aims higher than it
has to. While I am uncertain what the dramatic agenda of Glow is -- it
might be about depression, grief or some other kind of anguish -- I
have no doubt that there are great conceptual depths here. Likewise, I
feel sure that the choreography would stand up to the scrutiny of
plain white light.


«glow» page
chunky move website

In Glow, light and moving graphics are not pre-rendered video playback
but rather images constantly generated by various algorithms
responding to movement.  In most conventional works employing
projection lighting, the dancer's position and timing have to be
completely fixed to the space and timeline of the video playback.
[...]  In Glow, the machine sees the performer and responds to their
actions, unlocking them from a relationship of restriction and tedium.


On Tue, Feb 26, 2008 at 5:24 PM, Kate Sicchio <kate@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> Hi All.
>  I have not seen Glow 'in real time', or even the entire piece via
>  documentation, but I know a little about it through working with Frieder
>  Weiss and my own work with his Kalypso software.
>  I do have some question for those who have seen it... Johannes described
>  feeling uninvolved choreographically. Are you loosing the dancer in the
>  performance because of the consistantly changing responsive projection?
>  I wonder what would happen if there was one constant responsive
>  environment for the entire piece? What would the differences be as viewers?
>  The floor projections to me represent an exploration of how we are
>  trying to remove the divide we have commonly come to know in dance
>  performance that utilizes video projection - and that is the space
>  between the dancer(s) and the screen. As Johannes points out, we are
>  looking to explore a fusion here and we should question whether or not
>  we have bridged that gap any.
>  Also I find the birds eye view becoming more a part of my world (or
>  maybe I am just more aware?). Just this morning I was looking up on
>  google maps a satelite image of the journey I was about to undertake...
>  I think in response to Matt's statement that 'real time tracking is to
>  free the dancers...' may not relate to Kalypso as much as other
>  softwares or perhaps there is less being fixed in Kalypso. Yes, this
>  material is confined to what happens in the camera lens, but it is not
>  confined to pre recorded material. Kalypso is almost solely based on the
>  changing of pixels in a live feed scenerio. I've found a big difference
>  in approaching this as a maker of work. I feel myself moving from a more
>  narrative filmic approach and into what I would describe as expressive.
>  I am concerned less about cinematic conventions which can be triggered
>  and have moved into a more painterly frame of mind.  So maybe we are
>  freeing something, even if it is not the dancer from the camera...
>  Kind Regards
>  Kate

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