Cimatics Masterclass Live A/V, Brussels (2007/2008)

CimaticsThis week I am attending the fourth and last week of the Cimatics Masterclass Live A/V 2007/2008 in Brussels. Cimatics is a Brussels based international platform for Live A/V. This Masterclass consists of a series of 4 workshops with lectures from different internationally renowned media artists / theorists (amongst others Marc Amerika, Lab[au], Yves de Mey, Jerry  Galle, Brendan Byrne & Ana Carvalho, Boris Debackere). The practical part is all about collaboration: 10 selected artists, working in different fields of media‐art (and with backgrounds ranging from choreography to architecture) form groups and collaborate with each other, with the aim of creating an audiovisual performance project.

Cimatics ExperimentsWe formed a group of four artists collaborating on a common interest in exploring interaction of the body with live video‐projection and live (generated) sound. This group consists of Ambra Pittoni (Choreographer, Italy/Berlin), Charlotta Ruth (choreographer, Sweden), Filip Sterckx (Animator, BE) and myself. The results of our research are reflected in a proposal for a live dance performance. This performance will be performed on different occasions later this year.

The different elements of our research during the workshops could be synthesized in the concept of the Digital Facial Image (as described in ‘New Philosopy for New Media’ by Mark B. Hansen, 2006) that acts as an interface between the domain of digital information and the embodied human experience. Affect as a medium, in other words.

Cimatics ExperimentsIn his book, Hansen proposes the encounter with a digital image of the face as a new paradigm for the human interface with digital data. With the DFI, he reconceptualizes the notion of the (human‐computer) interface itself: by bypassing investment in more effective technical ‘solutions’, it invests in the body’s capacity to supplement technology — the potential it holds for ‘collaborating’ with the information presented by the interface.

Inspired by these ideas, we did several experiments with projection and motion tracking. By projecting (recorded as well as live) human facial images back onto the body of a performer, we tried to link ‘flesh’ (the ‘warm’, human and tactile world of the human body in performance) with technology (what in this sense could be described as the ‘cold’, resistant, screenbased world of digital media). By twisting the appearance of a human body through projection, playing with similarities and differences between human faces (and essentially playing with the affection one almost automatically has with an image of a face), we tried through different experiments to create an experience of meeting a multifaced person and increased ambiguity and ‘play’ with that in an artistic context (See Documentation below)

At this moment, we are in the process of preparing our first public perfomance, scheduled in july 2008 at the Body Navigation Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia (If all goes well, more on that later).

Program & Timeline of the Cimatics Masterclass

  • Workshop 1: Image
    19 till 23 November 2007; Beursschouwburg, Brussels
    Session 1: “Visual instruments: Coding for visual performance” by Marius Watz
    Session 2: “Handmade Cinema“by Floris Vanhoof
    Session 3: “Electric Synaesthetic“by Billy Roisz
  • Workshop 2: Sound
    02 till 06 January 2008; Kunstenwerkplaats Pianofabriek, Brussels
    Session 1: “A+V ≠ AudioVisual or How to compose and perform ‘one’ instead of two?” by Boris Debackere
    Session 2: “Dynamiek en interactie in live A/V performances” by Eavesdropper+ Collaborative project proposal: Participants apply for a working‐budget of max. 1000 € each. deadline: Febuary 1st 2008
  • Workshop 3: Interaction
    18 till 22 Febuary 2008; iMal, Brussels
    Session 1: “Theories and Practices of Interaction in Physical and Virtual Space” by VJ Theory
    Session 2: “Logic doubles Logic” by Jerry Galle
  • Workshop 4: Space
    April 28 till May 2, 2008; MediaRuimte, Brussels
    Session 1: “MetaDeSIGN“by LAb[au]
    Session 2: “Counternarratives: An Avant‐Pop Remix” by Mark Amerika


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