Time frame: 2 weeks. 

Description:

Are you dancing with me?

Or are you dancing with me in whichever world the digital space is representing?

Is it me that's in that world?

Or, is it your illusion, and I have I fallen into oblivion? 

 

This dance piece explores the interplay of time and presence/absence. The interaction system records the first dancer's movement and plays it while the second person is dancing, at the first person's absence. The performance was choreographed in a way that even with such absence, the two dancers are still putting on a duet on the projection, as if talking to each other despite the time lapse. 

Eli and Yachao were interested in how people can communicate via physical movements, and how digital media can affect such communication. In an attempt, they are also questioning what constitutes the representation of our bodies and body language, and if digital media is helping to construct or deplete such representation. 

Key components: Max MSP multimedia controler, DMX lighting system, choreography.  

Eli's role: Designing the interaction and visual effect, dancing, communicating with choreographer, programming, video shooting and editing. 

 

Process

  • MAX MSP:  The two artists spent lots of time playing with the visual effects and finally decided on using the abstract representation of the camera view with the background eliminated. The camera was flipped which is another issue for us since the second dancer has to refer to the recording for his positioning. We were able to find the right objects after playing around with different methods. [jit.dimmap] & [jit.change] were the two crucial elements in the code. 
  • Timing: Since the two dancers were dancing a duet with a time lapse, the choreograph has to be made in a way that the movement of the two dancers corresponds or speaks to the other's at the same time matched with the background music. I was a lot of trial and error, but we were able to edit the original sound track and change our movements to achieve the final visual effect. 
  • Logistics: This has been Eli and Yachao's first time taking care of every aspect of a performance. Besides the dancing part which often seems to be the most important thing in a performance, there are also a whole bunch of logistics issues they had to dealt with. How long is the VGA cable at the site? Is it better to use a web-camera instead of putting the MacBook in the middle of the stage for recording? Which lights should be turned on and which off? And so goes the list. They had to run across several streets to get a cable and come to the studio many times to test the DMX. But these all turned out rewarding.