[-empyre-] Toplap's stage for thought and "the whole human instrument"

I was visiting the TopLap website today with the Empyre conversations in mind.


The TopLap website includes a "ManifestoDraft" and links to video performance documentation by TopLap members.


I found a worthwhile documentation of a Feb.24 performance by Akihiro Kubota.


I am using Kubota's documentation for the following speculative observations:

The gist of the TopLap agenda, as I understand it, is a more transparent relationship between the interactions of the performer, the code, and what occurs visibly and audibly in the performance space. Toplappers call algorithms "thoughts". Instead of a graphic user interface that is hidden away in order to foreground the mutations of sound and image (as in vjaying software), the interface is rawly presented as multiple windows of code algorithms ("thoughts") coexisting on the screen with "aesthetic" visualizations/sonifications of the code.

It is the ongoing modifications of algorithms, modified live by the performer that carry the weight of the performance. The first line of the TopLap "ManifestoDraft" reads:

"Give us access to the performer's mind, to the whole human instrument."

I feel sympathetic to this desire to materially ground the simulacra of digital "representations" through the audience's perception of the relationship between the visual/audio experience and the "visible hand" of the maker. It also seems to materially ground the experience by means of the Multiple: i.e., compelling the viewer's need to make comparisons among several symbolic representations changing over time.

I perceive the display of code on the screen as another "representation", since the machine must still interpret the code into its own machine language. It is the "cross-referencing" among various types of display that allows me to access the work.

I find a connection to film montage where meaning erupts in the gaps between shots. Here it is the gaps between (or among) simulacra that ground the digital.


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