Re: discussions/plans

Richard Povall (
Sun, 13 Apr 1997 18:50:24 -0400

...Unfortunately we were not able to make the grid system before I started
>making the dance so the integration of the technology has been secondary.
>So far the piece is not totally working for us and we are struggling with
>sollutions. I think perhaps the real question is why is the grid system
>there? Is it enough to just have it there because we are interested in it's
>possibilities and are still experimenting with it? And, is it "ok" to show
>it to an audencience while it is in this state?

The issues that Dawn raises are of course totally fundamental and are ones
that we face every time a new work begins. If we're trying to challenge
the nature of how work is made and the relationships between performer,
creator, and "instrument", why should we not also be fundmentally
rethinking the ways in which we actually make the work? - or at least,
should it not be surprising if the work must be made in an entirely
different way? To make a work that is itself a piece of research is in
itself a difficult process. I remember being told quite explicitly at a
composers' symposium a few years ago that if I was dealing with
experimental technologies, then those technologies, or at least the
questions arising from those technologies, should be central to the work.
I strongly disagree with this. Dawn's comments about content, and the
audience reaction to the work, are very helpful here. We are still making
pieces, and if we normally choose to work strongly with "content" (rather
than abstrations), then that has to be dealt with AS WELL as dealing with
the issue arising from the technology or the new way of working.

It seems impossible to make work for an interactive environment without
being inside the environment itself, particularly where movement is
concerned. It seems impossible to abstract the environment and its
possible outcomes and try to develop material "imagining" what the outcome
might be. All of this has significant resource implications - time, money,
space, equipment; and presentation implications, particularly having the
time in the final performance space to really set up the environment in it
and discover how well (or otherwise) it is functioning. The typical model
of having an afternoon (or less) to setup and go doesn't really work. The
same applies, by the way, for presenting this kind of work at academic
conferences, where demonstration is essential, and where necessary time for
setup is rarely taken into account. All of these things mitigate against
convincing our respective communities and audiences of the validity of this

for what it's worth...


R i c h a r d P o v a l l
Assoc. Prof of Computer Music and New Media
MPO Box 0332 TIMARA/Studio 5
Oberlin, OH 44074-0332 USA Oberlin Conservatory of Music
Voice: +1.216.775.1016 Oberlin College
Fax: +1.216.775.8942 Oberlin, OH 44074 USA
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