RE: discussions, from Amanda S.

Mark Coniglio (
Mon, 7 Apr 1997 08:41:19 -0400

Forwarding for Amanda S. until this list serv thing gets worked out...
-- Mark C.

-------------- FROM AMANDA STEGGAL --------------

Hi all,
isn't it interesting - I think what is going on in this ist is that it is
no longer important to define WHO says WHAT - whether it is Amanda via
Mark, Scott, Imme, Johannes, Mark, etc,
- you read the mail - message after message - not your turn/my turn - it
can be confusing, but I personally enjoy the anarchy and find much food for
thought which I am using in my rehearsals right now.
Remember that we can mail each other individually - and then mail the
findings to the group - if there is some point which demands this kind of
attenetion. Otherwise - hold out and hang in.

It has to do with te nature of this communication - we should embrace it,
give it time, and I am sure we will evolve a way of
understanding/responding. Also, after a while with this type of
communication, you get to know each other from the way each individual

>Amanda, that about the future/present digitally
homeless. What is that? You mean the people unlike us who are not connected
with phone/modems?

Yep, that's what I mean. Negroponte divides the American population into
two main groups: the digital, and the "digital homeless" (whom he describes
as being "born too early, or not early enough to explore the
possibilities of being digital").

I travelled to Cairo to research my current project, Motherboard, which I
chose to describe as a study in neo - orientalism: one of the aims was to
find out to what extent digital technology was present in this
multicultural "exotic" metropolis. We discovered that there r three
internet providors - the american university of cairo, a private company
called Touch, and the State providor. The AUC and Touch are run by one and
the same woman. She also admits to sencoring the student's use of the
internet, but not how, and the students have acess via one 14.4 modem. We
talked to a customer service manager at the Apple showroom. Here is a small
excert from the conversation:

Q. what's your job here?
- I'm a Customer Support.

Q. How come computers aren't used for office work here?
- No, because they're not.

Q. Does this office have Internet access?
- Yes. there is an account. It is not used in this office. At home I have a
personal account. I have a homepage. I do not have Netscape. I can't see

Q. What about Internet providors? Where do you have your account?
- there is the AUC. I worked there before. I have an account there.There
is the government server which costs LE1000 a year with unlimited access.
There is censor of Internet here.. There is "Touch", a private company run
by Dr Mona M. Kaddah. (!)

Q. Is there a speech manager for the Arabic system? You know, a computer
voice that reads written text? - no. It is difficult. Many Arabic words
look the same, but the way we say them makes their meaning. It is difficult
to find shapes for words. IBM is working on it. To find shapes for words
that look the same but do not sound the same. It is difficult.

We ask about IRC net chat and he positively glows.
- My nickname is WCW - you will find me at #egypt, and #islam. I have many
friends. You can always find me. At night. WCW - the all Egyptian boxing
champion! Mostly at #egypt. Here is my email.

.............and so onto .......
>the central issue when using these devices with dance: is the dancer a
>dancer, or a musician, or an image manipulator or ... ? Will the use of
>technology change, the idea of "measureable" choregraphy change your work?
>Surely. But if we want the dancer to remain primarily a dancer, the control
>of the media devices should be a direct result of the choreography -- not
>the other way round.

- I think on this point one must consider the dancer in a new role, or a
flexi-role, bringing to a project the skills of a dancer - ie. if u want to
focus on movement in a controlable/manipulatable environment, then a
dancer/choreographer has much knowledge to offer. This knowledge can be
ingrained in the body of the installation, where the user "performs",
experiences - whatever - but the dancer has already performed.

-I know Mark and Dawn are working on a new project addressing this control
issue - a control of space in an interactive environment which is a
performance and from the sound of things, could b availble for an audience
to move in themselves, eventually after the performance - have u any ideas
in this direction Mark?

Of course the situation changes v. much in peformance circumstances, and
I'm rather inclined to point to Scotts hallucination comments - if u look
at the MOTHERBOARD homepages u will find two dancing babies. We "dance"
these babies as projections, stopping and starting the movie, to give the
impression tht they r v. much alive and present in our performance. We have
choreographed them this way (we hope). The dancers do not directly control
these babies - the necessity for them to do so is not present. The
technical timing ad the apparition of two small still babies freezing, then
dancing on a large wall is, at present, enough. (We stole the babies from a
3D demo and reworked them as moving giff to meet our requirements). We also
have Darth Vader in the same situation, also reworking/choroegraphing his
movement. His image is larger - but the impact is presently less :(.

We use speech manager to animate a text (shown as a movie: still frame
english, floating arabic/movement:stillness) with a speachless dancer
giving physical presence to a voice, as movement, to try to bring the text
into the NOW, (the text is an actuall question posed, in the past, to a
virtual Imam - the question is genuine) and a blindfolded bride appearing
in the flesh, out from a slide projection. Stillness to movement - 2d to
3d. It still surprises!

However, I am working on the incorporate a minute amount of midi into this
work, with the aim of (Mark) empowering the dancer - getting the dynamics I
need from one particular dancer by giving her some control of sound - for a
mere 80 seconds of a 30min. performance - i need this link in to
concretisies the link "which was" between the computer, the girl's
question, her situation (is it haram to speak to a man over the internet, I
have been conversing with a man for two years. I wish to marry him - but my
parents don't approve becos he is far away and it is difficult to check out
his references), the real Imam, and the consequent readers of this question
published on the internet. PHEWWWWWWWW!

Our other point of disturbance will enter via CU-SeeMe video conferencing -
one figure this time, also transmitting sound via real audio. Whether this
live apparition will be experienced as more live than the movie apparitons
has yet to be seen.

Sorry to use descriptions of MY work to respond to the mails on this list -
I am not a theoritician, and the best way for me to respond is to explain
how I am approaching these dilemmas which we are all working with. Hope it
was of use! and not too confusing.

best to you all, and many thanx to Mark for posting this message.

thanx to Scott for his comments on education - I agree!


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