why tech?

Bud Blumenthal (bud@skynet.be)
Wed, 1 Sep 1999 00:44:14 +0200

I'm going to be dancing in my partner Michèle Noiret's next piece for
four dancers, called "In Between". Michèle is a fine choreographer
but technically ignorant - hopeless in computers, video and sound -
yet she sees, discerns, and produces dance work of great quality. She
has a collaborater for the video set work called Paolo Azortman who
is very proficient and talented. She has a collaborator for the music
Todor Todoroff who also is very far into his field, who will be
creating the interactive sound set up.

It seems to me that her choosing to work with these artists who are
as deep into their fields as she is in hers, is a natural artistic
act. Each artist is using the methods that they use in order to
contribute to the piece by expressing themselves in the way they do.
The technology is their instruments. Their paintbrushes and plumes.
Its just what's happening now. If it were thiry years ago, the music
would be on a reel to reel. Now it'll be on adats, and hard disks and
passing through a G3 and 8 channels. Before these new lcd projectors,
we'd be working with film more than likely.

When we brainstorm together about what going to happen, everyone
speaks in a mix of theatrical, philosophic, artistic and of course
technical terms. There is nothing unusual about this. This has always
happened. Only the media and technology is different as it has
evolved. The evolution of technology has always been present. Perhaps
the evolution of our tools has always solicited a great deal of
philosophical reflection. If not, what one could say about today's
situation is that the evolution is so monumental so as to be
surprising a lot of people. If a work contains a ground breaking
technology that really shifts the perceptions of the audience, it is
normal that a lot of attention is paid to the new "thing". Maybe the
ground breaking works get a raw deal from a critical point of view
because their new "things" blind us to what it's there for. Later
generations using same techniques might be able to have their work
fully digested because we've all gotten used to experiencing the new
"things". Its like saying that today we are capable to interpret the
content of the first film, whereas film goers then hadn't yet
developed the syntax to decode it. They were enveloped in novelty.
I'm sure there's a learning curve to this and probably its not too
high given our adaptation today's rate of change.

Are these new multi-mediated cross platform interactive dance pieces
sacrificial lambs?

Bud Blumenthal
Cie Tandem asbl
58 rue de la Lys
1080 Brussels, Belgium
T: 32 / 2 / 425 89 37
Fx: 32 / 2 425 89 39
eMail: bud@skynet.be