Re: Crutches

Jeff Miller (
Thu, 14 May 1998 17:11:38 -0500

>Johannes Birringer wrote:
>>I wish to dissociate myself from the discussion on beating down on critics
>>who read works in the way they read them. that was not at all the point I
>>tried to raise, whether a critics "gets it."

first of all, I want to apologize if I step on any toes here. I feel that
my email may have come across as antagonistic to Johannes, when in fact I
applaud his decision and think it's a great thing he is doing.

>Sure, but the response of reviewers to dance-tech pieces is an interesting
>subject nevertheless. I wonder how much the reviewer's awareness of the
>system (or even that one is involved) informs the response.

My artistic collaborator AJ (who really needs to get on this list) summed
it up neatly: We need to be our own reviewers. We need to take some of
that general skill, in writing press releases, in writing grants, and apply
it towards reviewing for local publications. Gus Solomon had some things
to say about the whole subject, but I'll let AJ say it, since she attended
the lecture.

>>But that's how I feel at times, concerning video/slides projection, namely
>>that our blending/mixing of media creates unnecessary redundancies and
>>special effects that in fact do not cohere in the way "special effects" are
>>utilized in the film industry.

True, sometimes, but no more than sometimes dancers or music or lighting
don't cohere. I feel that this is condemning an entire medium because it
hasn't been done well very often. But it hasn't been around too long,
either...personal taste is fine, and if one's artistic vision doesn't
include "special effects" then they shouldn't be used. But that does not
mean that it can't be done well...and there are some concepts that can only
be done with a technological "assist" (would point shoes count as a crutch?
How about marley floors? Light boards? Synthesized music? DAT tapes?
Where do we draw the line?) To answer my own question, we each draw our
own--then dance around them.

>Of course, there's a distinction between an unexpected response ofa
>real-time interactive system and a case of bad programming (or a program
>which doesn't achieve the right aesthetic).

Ain't it the truth. Dance/Tech is only really here to provide unerring
proof of Murphy's Law.
"All seen reality is beautiful. It's man's thoughts that break the universe."