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