Live-I Workshop Journal (Days 4 & 5)

Mark Coniglio (
Thu, 5 Feb 1998 12:26:06 -0500

Live I Workshop Journal -- Days 4 & 5

I will condense the final two days of our workshop into one message, since
they were both primarily about implementing the student's studies.

On the fourth day, we attempted to set up and run through everyone's piece
during the course of a 1 1/2 hour class. Dawn and I underestimated the
amount of time required to do this, so everyhing was very hectic, and we
didn't get through all of the pieces (specifically, we got to 12 of 14).
Moreover, the students had very little time to actually experiment with the
interactive environments that they created. This was the biggest problem of
the entire process in our estimation, because it is the time that is spent
playing with a specific combination of technologies that informs the
performer/choreographer about how use it to best express their idea. In the
future, this I think that we will need to have three times the amount of
time that we allocated (4 - 5 hours) so that we can give the students a
chance to experiment a tiny bit, at least. In the ultimate scenario, they
would have a lab in which to try these things out during the course of the
week, but that was not the case during this residency.

We met with the two students whose pieces were not completed on Friday
morning so that they would have a chance to work on their material.

On the final day, all 14 students performed their studies in an open,
informal showing which was attended the rest of the dance school and a
handful of other interested parties. Moving from piece to piece went much
more smoothly than on Thursday, which was gratifying. Both Dawn and I were
very pleased with the students work, and what they were able to achieve in
such a short time. Here are some general observations on what we saw:

I found it interesting to see how the MidiDancer led the performers to move
in a very particular way. Since the it measures the bending of specific
joints, the performers moved in a way that emphasized those joints -- in
other words, they were being controlled by the technology to a certain
extent. One dancer seemed to overcome this, however, and simply let herself
move beautifully while simultaneoulsy keeping an awareness of the sounds
she was controlling -- letting the sound inform her movement. It was nicely

Dawn noted that she had wished that there was more movement in what the
students had done, but that this was probably impossible given the time
constraints of the workshop. We are guessing this is because the students
were a bit overwhelmed by all of the techical regalia that they had to
deal with, and that if we would have had another week we could have helped
them developed the movement aspect of their studies further. Perhaps we
will get some feedback on this subject from the students involved.

Upon reflecting a bit about what we learned from these students, I think
both Dawn and I were impressed by the extremely clear and perceivable
relationships between sensor and output device that were established in
most of the pieces. This may be for no other reason than because the
students are new to all of this stuff. Yet, it caused us to think a lot
about how a creator's sophisticated understanding of the techological tools
can lead to an abstraction of the sensor/media relationship, and how this
abstraction can go so far as to obscure the audience's perception the link
between movement and media. (And, even for the performer?)

So that's it for this workshop. I hope that my reflections and thoughts
have been of some use to the readers of the this list, as it was certainly
informative to me to put them down on e-paper.


Mark Coniglio, Artistic Co-Director |
Troika Ranch |