checking in...

Johannes H. Birringer (
Sun, 02 Mar 1997 17:01:55 -0600

Sunday March 2

Hello list -
I saw Scott deLahunta's message and his announcement of a telematic event
(about arrivals/departures) and wanted to respond. I am also interested in
the experience of Troika Ranch's GRID work that was announced on DTZ.

My ensemble, AlienNation Co., is not quite ready yet to particpate in
telematic events via ISDN lines, but we are working on departures and
arrivals, in a sense. Our current rehearsals for a new digital dancework are
based on the epxloration of bodily memory, movement-as-memory, and
movement-images (live, camera-recorded, video-projected, motion-captured,
digitized, reprocessed, and set in a live installation-context with physical
and textural structures).

Our premise is that in the intermedia collaboration with artists from
different cultural and artistic backgrounds, issues of departures and
displacements (and memory of losses) are second nature. We wanted to
experiment with the 'virtualization" (excorporation, filing,
capturing-as-abandoning) of memory in the constant movement of our existence
and that existence's increasing dependence on complex technologies, support
communications and substitutions (prostheses). Rather than celebrate the
so-called obsolescence of the body (phsyical, sensorial experience), or the
hype of digitally enhanced environments and VR/Internet/hypermedia
applications, we are doing solidly literal research with "applications,"
informing the computer about our physical ideas, testing its flexibility and
what it can retain on its surface (screen) or in its drive, and dancing with
the feedback we feel/experience as we face the images we produce, or as thye
face us.

Working in non-phyisical interconnection with others is an interesting
conceptual challenge, and partly we are doing the rehearsal via
email/internet because not all members are in the studio together all the time.

We do now have a choreographic structure developed, and a flexible score
based on video and digital image files, that allows us to perform portions
of the work ("before night falls") in a given site, with the participation
of some performers and the presences (image movement, voices, inputs) of
others. Depending on where we perform, the composition and interaction of
the work's dimensions can be altered, but we have not considered yet making
a live transmission or setting up a local installation (onsite) linked via
ISDN lines, telematically, to other sits where our other collaborators, or
audiences might be. Partly this is so because we do not have access to the
technological support, or we have not contacted producing organisations
(such as the Kitchen, or the Knitting Factory in NY, or STEIM in Amsterdam)
that might be interested in supporting a concert/performance linking two or
more sites.

Lastly, I'd be interested in asking Scott and others who have done this,
what the concept or the objective behind such temporary links (via Internet)
are, how other collaborators or audiences enter (arrive/depart) into a work
that is not necessarily developed together and explored over time, but
functions as a technological hook up in the sense of a live broadcast. I am
sceptical of the broadcast aspect, if indeed the far-ranging technological
hook up makes the performance more dependent on the function of the
"Synergy" event than on the content and the sincerity of the ideas explored
and thought through. It is entirely possible, however, that a synergy event
can teach us how we deal with unexpected and unpredictable arrivals
(interactions) with others, and how we deal with interactions wheh we don't
know whom we are dealing with, and what for, and when a specific work's
choreography/narrative/content is not known or immediately perceivable by
audiences/users/interactors who arrive on the spot.


Johannes Birringer
AlienNation Co.