[-empyre-] Re: Introducing Kondition Pluriel re: Networked Performance (forward from Martin Kusch)

From	Martin Kusch <mkusch@k-pluriel.org>
Subject:	Re: Introducing Kondition Pluriel re: Networked
To:	<empyre@lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
Date:	Tue, September 16, 2003 6:56 am

Hello empyrians,

first of all thank you for inviting us to be guest at empyre for this
month and thx to Christina for posting the short introduction about us.

Deep_below  I added some additional information about our  working
methodology, (it seems that it  got  cut or lost in the initial posting
from christina), even though it is a rather dry text and statement, it
still reflects some of our practice and ideas.

Before trying to catch up ) with some of the questions and issues which
have been posted ( what we will try do in some of our next e-mails, since
this one is already way too long,..... sorry for this ) I like to talk a
little bit about what "interactive manipulation" in the course of our
performances means.

Coming from the field of media arts, trained as a visual artist, the
creation of "interactive"  and responsive environments, forming
installations in gallery spaces, museums or festivals, events or
whatsoever has been mostly defined by the participation of  what I would
call a non-informed body, in "opposition" to this we can see the
professionally trained and shaped body - like the one of a dancer (for

In the "usual" responsive environment we have a situation where the
visitor, user/ observer or participant enters into the piece, and
explores/ navigates or experiences (inside the frame of the artistB%s
conception, set-up and proposition) the work.

Before working closly together with performer and choreographer
Marie-Claude, the quality of movement has not been necessarily one of the
decision making parameters for the construction of my installations.

Often I use cameras as the interface, the movement and / or the presence
of the observer is an important factor to engage with my works, without
going deeper into the concepts of these  works, I can clearly say that
even though quality of movement changes the perception or construction
inside the installations - moving faster, slower or creating certain
patterns in space, always left traces in the environment - inside the
system or on the level of perception for the single user or additional
observers - , therefore the active engaged observer somehow always became-
to a certain extent - some type of a performer, nevertheless movement a a
tool of expression, a tool for writing has never been a major concern for
the participant.

Once I started to work deeply involved with live performance, dance and
the time-based construction of pieces (as an installation artist - the
time-based pattern is still giving me lotB%s of headache issue)- the
approach and the definition what interactive manipulation could mean,
immediately started to shift radically.

We belive that the engagement of a performing body inside a responding
environment is very different than the engagement of that of a visitor in
an installation, the performer is embedded in the set-up, and in the best
case both environment and performer form together a network of resonances,
organically interweaved, creating an experience for the obeserver

The distinction between media and parameter becomes often very blurry - a
stream of numbers can be interepreted as the raw representation of a given
media, or as a control parameter of a process, or both.

By crisscrossing assignations between media-data and control-data, we
weave an intricate fabric of relationships in which all the elements in
place resonnate and answer in organic ways. Our work with distributed and
integrated digital systems (from sensors to actual media output, including
DSP and modelling) has led us to take an approach towards the abstraction
of data and we consider the articulation and channelizing of data over
time leads to a new register of expressivity and writing. Subtle changes
in mappings, redundant patterns of processing, combinations of
relationships all become extremely powerfull statements when delicately
integrated into the flow of a performance: even if the relationships
themselves are not clearly identifiable (we can talk of subterranean
relationships as being opposed to exposed relationships).

Here is what  Marie-Claude has to say to this:

As a dancer, choreographer and mainly as a

researcher about the human body/mind as a net of

perceptions, as a source of expression, I became

one day limited by the perimeter of my own body.

As it may seem a contradiction, doing art from and

with the human body/mind as a starting point or a

subject also gave me an incredible sense of

freedom and infinity.

What makes you want to move in a space? What makes

you want to move in an abstract space? A space

with nothing inside, an empty space.

and how are you going to move in that space?

I want to move because I project, because I

anticipate reality, because I create reality,

because I simulate reality. My body/mind, is

giving back a lot of information/sensations he

accumulated. Our actions are mailny based on this

capacity, or this behavior of projection the

body/mind has.

Working with a responsive environment gave me the

chance to be part of a feed back process where I

could visualise and interact with these

projections, but where these projections could

suddenly have an impact on me again.

Being part of a device, or of a system, suddenly

put an emphasis on the links between me (the

performer) and the other elements (media inputs).

It was not anymore only about the performer, or

about the sounds, or the images, but more about

their relations with each other... and these

relations could be perceived in so many ways, the

time and space in which they take place could be

streched, cut, accelerated or reduced... at least

for me (the performer), but also for the viewer

who is EXPERIENCING the moment with us.

> Objectives and methodology
> In our beginning stage, we underwent a research phase of empirical

Objectives and methodology

In our beginning stage, we underwent a research phase of empirical tests.
The research began with very basic environments, investigating live and
virtual presence using camera recognition systems. A live performerC-s
actions affected how a performer in a video moved according to a linear
relationship: when the performer moved to the right, so did the virtual

Because we wanted to work with elaborate movement and choreography, it
became quick necessary to develop a more complex, gesture-based analysis
system using sensors. With this technology, the relationship we were
trying to establish between the virtual and live bodies was no longer
linear but circuitous, not narrative, but however tout de meme coherent.
The specific technology developed for this exploration into the space
between media art and dance, between technology and the body, resulted in
me II (2002). In these works, live images, pre-recorded images,
three-dimensional architectural representations, live and pre-recorded
sounds, and live performers interact in a complex, activated
environment. Responsive wireless technology combines with temporal
movement, generating video images and soundscapes. A new organic space
is created out of the bodies, sounds, images, and their relationships.
The images of virtual architecture change according to the space in
which the work is performed (gallery / theater / exhibition space),
thus, in a way, making the space itself into a performer. The space
becomes like a body, and the live body becomes a space, between which
there is not always a clear, causal relationship but an organic quality
and interdependence.

The process of working with choreography, movement and bodies and the
process of working with technology and new media require quite different
approaches. To combine both of these disciplines and remain
process-oriented as an artistic group is challenging, but provides
ground on which to explore the traditional codes of representation, the
nature of spectacle and the phenomenon of perception.

me II, we are now looking to integrate the viewer into the performance
me II is being used to investigate the single userC-s experience of the
augmented performance environment. The active participation of the viewer
as a creator of his/her own spectacle was explored in the previous work
entre-deux (2002), which took place in a public storage space. The
lighting of the space created a double shadow of the individual spectator
on a white screen. Through the shifting negative of his/her body, the
viewer was able to see a video of two live performers located in a nearby
space, who were able to see and move according to the movements of the
spectator. entre-deux questioned the spectatorC-s role, how far he or she
is willing to go to create a performance, notions of voyeurism and
intimacy in a public space, and the impact of technology on conceptions of
the body, time and space. We are currently in a research residency phase
exploring the viewerC-s role within a highly technological environment.

The interactive manipulation of a media-based environments through dance /
performance and its relationship to time, memory and space is an ongoing
concern. This new work will be discussed during the engagement with

Some links:






 kondition pluriel
 Martin Kusch
 4164 Parthenais, Appt.2,
 H2K 3T9 Montral, QC
 Tel. +1 514 5216360
 Fax. +1 514 5219879


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