Re: STREB (also pretty long)

Darren Kelly (
Fri, 2 Jan 1998 13:25:10 +0100 (MET)

Dear Robert,

In reply to Nick Rothwell you wrote:
> Second thought:
> i think it must be said, some inevitable disappointment
> generally awaits most of us (perhaps particularly the "lay" audience) at
> dance-tech events, simply because the Expectations are so great.
> To drive home the point: everyone has seen MTV. if nothing else.
> one might think "Let's so see X. it must be something like those computer
> multimedia effects we've seen, _only live_!"

I think this is a fabulous remark, and very interesting that you mention
MTV. Perhaps more than anyone else on dance-tech I'm looking towards live
gestural MIDI controller implementations for the "pop" audience. I think
it is very important to respect the response of a cynical 16-year-old.
Indeed that's why I think it is so important to develop these technologies
and techniques so far that the popular audience responds to every aspect
of the performance for its own sake.

For example, the music generated by dance motions should be so good that
people wish to buy CDs (sound alone) generated by these instruments.
Similary, audiences (be they "dance" audiences or kids at a pop concert)
should respond to the dance alone (they needn't even realise that the
music and lighting is controlled by dance). They should enjoy
watching the performers. Further, they should find the lighting as
interesting as hand-controlled or preprogrammed lighting. These should be
our benchmarks.

And if some people ARE disappointed, then maybe it's because their
expectations are realistic and our technology and techniques don't yet
make the grade.

If the circus can make people cry, we had better manage it too. They use
technology and acrobatics/dance, and if the technology doesn't work
acrobats die. And they _move_ people. THAT's good work. Our our devices
really _that_ mature ?

MTV kids buy CDs that make them cry and laugh and _dance_; they don't care
how the music is produced, and we should take that response very
seriously. I won't be happy with my system Drancing until I can whip a
bunch of teenies into a frenzy at a large European style rave ("party").
If you can do that, you have mastered your dance technology. And if you
can't, I think it's fair to say your aren't there yet. That's _not_ a
criticism. I'm the first to admit I can't do that yet either. I'm sure,
however, that that is not far off.

I've been planning such a rave with another musician here, but we know
that it is important to get it right. Whereas adults might be pleased to
find a performance technologically intriguing, teenies will simply find it
cool or uncool. Their expectations are VERY high, they want to have a VERY
fun time (whatever that means; they define it). And they are very easily
disappointed, and crucify willingly.

There is a lot of talk on dance-tech about how the trained dancers on
dance-tech, but barely any about whether or not the audience dances. I
suspect since one doesn't expect ballet audiences to stand up and join
in, that this is easily overlooked. Yet this is a VERY important benchmark:


Darren Kelly | | |
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