Re: workshop discussions

sher doruff (
Wed, 25 Nov 1998 11:44:21 +0100

Interesting to read Scott's comments/analysis on the SNDO workshops which have
been engaged with researching methods of teaching new media echnologies to
dance students. It's been nearly a year since the first Scenography workshop
which was bundled with sound and dance composition workshops towards a
mega-presentation. We attempted to deal with Image/ine and real time
projection interactivity within the constraints of three hour work days and a
project that involved a collective presentation of the entire school.We also
bore the responsibility, as a group, for the spatial design of this
presentation which left little time for research and development of
projection/interaction techniques and discussion of the myriad aethethic
controversies around these issues. If there is one thing I've learned it's
that serious investigation of these real time technologies NEED real time, in
depth research to step anywhere outside of the gimmick.

Since that first workshop I've given a second which focused on older media
technologies, dia projection, overhead projection and unmediated video. My
intention was to slowly build towards interactive instruments by encouraging
direct participation with these, shall we say, less responsive projections as
a starting point. I exclude the overhead from that statement as I still find
it one of the most immediate and intuitive means of collaborating with a live
image mediator.

Interestingly, this group of students preferred experimenting with the old
tools and Image/ine was only peripherally used. The computer was used
extensively with video and Photoshop to create the dias. In retrospect, I
think this a sound preliminary introduction not only to the computer but to
becoming acquainted with involvement, reaction and provocation with projected

I've suggested that further Scenography (the mise-en-scene - 1)spatial design,
visual composition, projection, light 2)costumes, props)workshops be extended
from three to possibly five weeks and that they merge with a lighting design
workshop in the final week. Workshops that only utilize the projected light
from the beam place undo emphasis on the projection and that continues to be
one of the major problem, in my view.

For the performer, relating to theatrical environments driven by software such
as Image/ine and BigEye requires special focus and attention. This is a
workshop in itself and could be a follow-up for students who have participated
in the more general scenography workshop. And yes Scott, I think it's a good
idea to include scenographic issues in theory class. And these questions....

a. what direction would one take in terms of exploring the relationship
ofilve performer to projected image.

> b. what are tensions between pre-recorded versus realtime/ live sampling &
> where does this tension lie along the spectrum between set and improvised
> choreography? (in other words how does 'set' choreography and 'pre-recorded
> and manipulated' projection compare with 'improvised' and 'realtime
> recording and manipulation?). There is a new book by an Australian couple
> in our library titled *improvisation, hypermedia and the arts since 1945*
> which is 'sort of' interesting on this topic.
> c. what is 'experience' of performer who is 'controlling' this realtime
> projection and how what does this signify for an audience
> d. what is representational role of on-stage and live video person?
> technician/ recorder, dispassionate observer, lover (as in Hans van Manen's
> *live*)
> can only begin to be addressed when the workshop experience delves beneath
> the superficial wow, gosh,golly of what's technically possible and focuses
> on what's technically useful.

Sher Doruff