Day 3, Stream 4
Sue Hawksley: University of Bedfordshire, UK
Garth Paine: Arizona State University, United States
Simon Biggs: University of Edinburgh, UK
Gorkem Acaroglu: Director, Mixed reality Performance Lab, Australia
Alison Gazzard: University of Hertfordshire, UK
A. Baki Kocaballi, Lian Loke, Andy Dong, Rob Saunders & Petra Gemeinboeck: The University of Sydney / The University of New South Wales, Australia
Sue Hawksley, Garth Paine & Simon Biggs Somatic data as agency in interactive dance
Bodytext is a performance work that involves speech, movement, sound and the body. The dancer’s movement and speech are re-mediated within an augmented environment employing motion tracking, voice recognition, interpretative language systems, digital projection and audio resynthesis. Acquired speech, of an imagined dance description, is re-written through physical interaction with the projected digital display and audio environment. The performer’s movement causes the recorded/written texts to move, driven by video tracking. The textual objects interact and recombine, during which they exchange syntactic elements making new descriptions that determine a new dance. The audio of the spoken text is re-mediated and sonified. The text objects emerge as new texts, graphical compositions and sound events. Dance and media systems generate an ever evolving new dance description, which in each iteration is danced again.
The speech and movement data derive from the dancer’s personal investigation of ‘bodystories’, relating to autobiographical accounts, embodied memories, description of performative movements, and/or phenomenal experience – data of which only the dancer has direct experience. Sharing this personal information, in the context of a performative disclosure, shifts the audience from spectators to active participants in an act of professing and performative enacting. Private data, once released into the public domain, takes on a life of its own. Bodytext seeks insight into the relations between kinaesthetic experience, memory, agency and language, and how private data, when released into the public domain, is recontextualised and interpreted.
Dancer, audience and machine are enmeshed in a recursive dynamic they must both follow to its (il)logical conclusion. The innate entropy of the system gives structure to the overall work, and from this emerges what is, in the end, a rather tragic descent – Resistance is Futile.
Gorkem Acaroglu Mixed Reality Performance Lab
The MIXED REALITY PERFORMANCE LAB is the result of one-years practical research funded through the Australia Council’s Inter Arts Artlab initiative. It practically examines the limits and opportunities for using TECHNOLOGY AS SUBJECT in THEATRE, where the technology PERFORMS as an actor does in traditional theatre. It is about examining the interface between bodies as subject and technologies as subject; where the technology is capable of real-time spontaneous interaction with actors in a dramatic theatre work. Over a year, a team of Sydney and Melbourne based artists are undertaking a series of research laboratories developing cross-disciplinary methodologies into the interface between bodies and technology including: Human-robot interaction, Avatar and real-time projection of virtual worlds, motion-capture, 3D Stereoscopic animation, haptics and Virtual Reality. This research is being undertaken through residencies in technology centres (the Deakin Motion Capture Lab and the Centre for Intelligent Systems Research), testing the use of these technologies in the dramatic theatre work Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen, exploring aesthetic, dramatic and philosophical implications.
This research is driven by an assumption that dramatic theatre has been reluctant to include media technologies, whereas other art forms are more than comfortable to do so. We wish to respond to this resistance and seek to investigate where the technology is capable of real-time spontaneous interaction with humans on stage. Is it possible to maintain the fundamentals of dramatic theatre, and use new media technologies at the same time? Can audiences still empathise with character and plot when technology ‘acts’? Can the dramatic world still be drawn through dialogue and maintain a ‘closed fictional world’ when integrating technology with actors on stage?
Ian Willcock (paper presented on Ian’s behalf by Alison Gazzard) Modelling Performance: Generic formal processes in live digital performance
Most existing accounts of live performance concentrate on the specific features of individual works or on linking works according to commonly observed traits which allow their plausible inclusion in groups identified by authorship, style or genre. Similarly, most integration of digital technology with live performance is bespoke; an adaption of practice and enabling technology that solves only a single creative problem – that of the specific work being created.
This paper takes a different approach, which through considering practice across the range of live performance traditions contributing to contemporary digital performance activity, is able to propose a generic model of live performance which is able to account for the processes and moment to moment connections within live performance across a wide range of styles and genres. The approach is non-taxonomic, but is based on set theory and Boolean logic, the formal unfolding of a live performance is considered as the sum of individual performances generated by semi-autonomous performers. Each performer enacting a series of decisions based on their perceptions of the overall state of the performance (and each others’ activity) and a rule-set – which may be explicit or implicit.
Taking a view similar to that of Susan Broadhurst and others in seeing digital performance as an extension of existing performance traditions rather than as a completely, or mainly, new performative genre, the generic model of live performance is then extended to provide a rationale for the integration of digital technology with live performance which does not depend on specific activities or alterations of existing practice by artists or on features belonging to specific performance traditions. The model is able to provide a framework for analysis of existing digital performance and a framework for future creative exploration.
A. Baki Kocaballi, Lian Loke, Andy Dong, Rob Saunders & Petra Gemeinboeck Interplay of scripts and resistance in a participatory workshop
We report on an exploratory workshop with dance performers. The workshop, which aimed to explore the concept of togetherness, consisted of multiple activities facilitating different ways of engaging with the concept. Within the workshop, although the multiplicity of activities facilitated exploration of the concept in different ways, we were faced with two different types of resistance by workshop participants. In this paper, we employ the notion of scripts to describe how this resistance emerged. Scripts, which can be embedded into various mediums with different strengths, specify actors, their roles and their settings. While strong scripts impose a particular way of doing things, weak scripts allow (inter-)action across a broader spectrum. While on the one hand, we explain how a weak script can cause distrust of the workshop rationale and overall research aim, on the other, we explain how a strong script can render the technological materials of the workshop useless and lead to termination of the activity. Although in our context, this resistance disrupted the flow of the workshop activities, it was very effective in making visible the different understandings of the participants, their roles and relations. It also opened the possibility of discussing alternative ways of conducting the workshop and alternative ways of engaging with the technological devices. By exercising resistance, workshop participants were able to contribute not only to the workshop content, but also to the overall workshop rationale, its methods and scripts. Based on a performative understanding of methods, which advocates that methods produce realities not simply reveal them, our paper suggests that resistance can allow us to reconstruct our methods and, by extension, our access to the multiplicity of concepts we are exploring. Structuring workshops according to the notion of scripts may prove a useful way of exercising resistance and expanding our territory of exploration.