[dance-tech] Re: repertory worlds

  • From: Nick Rothwell <nick@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: dance-tech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2008 13:31:53 +0000

Hey Nick,

Hey Dawn,

The above comment makes me think of the Limon company, which is now a sort of Rep company. They perform the historical works of Jose Limon, which are decades old, along side contemporary works by Limon alum or other nearly related young choreographers. I like this concept. While it keeps the history of a founder in the present, the company dancers can still grow and be challenged by new work.

Absolutely. And of course, many choreographers make works for other companies, which then go into the companies' repertoires. This isn't (yet) possible for technology-reliant works until there is a lingua franca for the actual technology components (in terms both of transfer between practitioners and longevity). If/when there is, it will be interesting to see whether there is a desire for older technological works to be wheeled out and shown. I don't see any reason why not, if they have artistic merit. Perhaps a good yardstick for a dance/tech piece is: will this piece still work when the technology is sufficiently entrenched to not be at all interesting?

In a rather serendipitous turn, I'm just starting to work with Marc Downie's FIELD media software platform (more information at http:// www.openendedgroup.com/index.php/software/), and have just read his ACM paper describing it. I don't know whether the paper is publically available, but I'll take the liberty of lifting out a few sentences:

"Ultimately, for our purposes in this paper, we claim that both those that program and those that make art with computers find themselves very much on the outside of many of the forces that shape the bases of their craft. Digital new-media artists remain far away from the power centers that develop the technology upon which their media is based in a way that is almost unrecognizable in the history of other “new media”. The development of photography, film, and even video have all been marked by an integration of practicing artist and technical development. But today, such digital artists remain largely parasitic on hardware developments driven by computer games and software advances driven by the needs of either commercial design or Hollywood production. This is at least echoed in digital artists’ relationship to their
tools as well as in the kinds of relationships that these tools offer."

This seems to resonate with the point I made yesterday about artists' reliance on proprietary technology designed with other markets in mind - often, the business model works against efforts to open or share the technology in ways which are amenable to repertory.

Exactament! And, while we are at it, can we get rid of Post- Modernism too!

Aw, no - I'm a bit of a fan.

I did not go see Richard this weekend, even though I could have. I am sorry that I missed it but I am taking a little time off from seeing anything right now. But, hence the comment about Kammer/ Kammer is exactly what I hope for all of us D&Ter's. Just make the work using whatever methods you use and promote it's concept/ content rather then it's gizmo's. Nuff said.

...except when publicity and marketing demand to use the technology to sell the work, because it's easier to talk about and photograph. This problem is as big an issue in music as well as dance performance: many of the times I've been interviewed about arts projects, it hasn't taken long for the line of questioning to get around to "so, tell me about the equipment you're using here".

But sometimes, I think, it's possible to get the balance just right and hit a sweet spot. In Margie Medlin's QUARTET project (http:// www.quartetproject.net) we had huge quantities of technology, but (in my opinion) the most successful vignette was a relatively simple, but very moving, duet between a dancer and a motion control robot. The technology is very apparent, but its anthropomorphism allows the piece to work on an emotional level. (Similar, I suppose, to the Compagnie Beau Geste performance with the mechanical digger: http:// www.danceumbrella.co.uk/festival_artists_BeauGeste.html . Is that a dance technology piece?)

Was this the kind of wrap around score program that was kind of like a musical score with different colors that represented different phrase material...or something to that effect? I remember talking with you and Michael about this years ago at Sadler's Wells...software for dancers maybe?

Yep, that's the one. (I don't know whether this mailing list is archived, but Scott deLahunta posted a detailed interview in May 2002.) We didn't get the support necessary to build any kind of generic platform, so the pieces we made at Ballett Frankfurt used bespoke software. Already (six years on) it would take a bit of effort to get them working again on current hardware.

        -- N.

Nick Rothwell / Cassiel.com Limited

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