[-empyre-] Virtual Embodiment / whose "our systems"

Jacqueline sawatzky sawatzky.jacky at gmail.com
Fri Aug 1 20:32:11 EST 2014

Dear all,

> Jacky, can you tell us more about your video and what you actually mean by vector video -- watching your "Impression of Bimhuis Dance & music improv Lab" (http://vimeo.com/99429183), your camera work looks like mine and I don;t know whaty vector video is. I also was not sure what (in that video) was the camera's observation point of view as it seemed straightforwardly focussed on the dancer and the dance gestures.

Before I make an attempt to answer Johannes' question I want to acknowledge where I get my inspiration from. 
Dr. Laura Marks her writing on enfolding and unfolding; as well Michael Schumacher's ideas around instant composition and dance improvisation, and the  concepts around, outrospection (the emphatic camera) and  Japanese Calligraphy the line  as a reflection of the soul and euclidian vectors. When I get into  the reflection stage, I can be more precise about what , how, why, these references,  maybe if I decide to do a PHd on this topic. Until now , I am creating and observing the response to the videos. The risk with all creations  is that is stays with as a novel idea, dissolves in tin air, ethereal, flakey,  and edges on SO WHAT. But it is this edge I am interested in, aware I might fall of. 

A difficult and good question, and thank you Johannes for asking this question. My apologies for this fragmented answer.

This exploration into so called vector video, started as a hunch, an intuition, and motivated by the need to imagine what a different intent of video can be. I found the HD video quality stifled me, and the expense _monetary as well  as computational_frightened me; it was so corporate ,closed, and optic. 

 And to be honest I also don't know what a vector video is. The question I started of with: A vector has a beginning, end and magnitude; it has movement, direction, intention. How can this be translated into a video.

In the years I working with dancers and seeing them use the camera,, I have noticed the awareness of their bodies and the space around them, made for camera work which wasn't necessary an extension of the eye (default mode), instead an extension of (diverse) qualities of embodiment. I see in this quality of awareness a possible resistance to how the HD video quality makes representation.  I have also noticed that the years of dance and sports training I have done has the same effect on my camera work.  So in this context, Johannes  your comment  'your camera works looks like mine' , makes sense,  as your background is dance. It makes me SMILE!!  

A video vector departs from the camera being an extension of this diverse qualities embodiment. The topic is listened too with all the senses, not only the eye. When filming, I touch the person or the situation with the camera, which is used like a pencil, other than a tool for capturing, giving the resulting footage the feel of a handwritten document or a drawing. 

 Johannes, your observation  is very true the Bimhuis video seems straight forward, though as it was improvisation, it required from me an awareness of the dancers in the space, in relationship to  the camera vocabularies.  My intentions were, with the camera I am part of the piece, so also improvising, only I am restricted to my seat, and the results only visible later, as video.  I provide for a virtual time and space which is not abstract, but embodied. I am not trying to capture the performance, thus the results follow, as you observed, the dancers and less so frames them.  

 Since a year I have made a series of these video vectors. The viewers response has been so far they engage with the topic not with the video, and often on a haptic, visceral level; they seem to forget the filmmaker  who becomes transparent, as Michael Schumacher said. Now the level of  transparency varies per video,for example when I feel too vulnerable, the filmmaker becomes visible. If you are interested the recent  vector videos are here https://vimeo.com/album/2562895 and my favorite https://vimeo.com/71007444

So here are some initial thoughts. I hope it makes some sense and it is not some rambling. 

I hope my response is not being inconvenient as this topic is dragging into the next month.

Johannes , I love your reflections on the radio, and observation on the increase of popularity in audio books. Do you maybe think that listing more so than looking brings one back into the body? 

regards, Jacky 

On 2014-07-31, at 8:08 PM, Johannes Birringer wrote:

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Dear all,   
> last day of July has come, and, thanks to Jacky, we are suddenly on to sports and a quite fascinating subject regarding the current era of
> technological reproducibility of the aura of high performance, or as you argue
> the extreme embodiment of  their sports discipline, though along side there is  a virtual body , data _video, statistics, motion capture data_ collected through all kinds of tracking technology. This virtual body is there to assist in elevating the athlete slightly above their physical 'limitations'.
> This is interesting on many counts  --- thanks also to Sue for expanding on her work and the choreographic or performative "embodied presence of place" (Sue schreibt:  " the kinaesthetic patterns of the there-and-then reveal the presence of ghost gestures that haunt the here-and-now, wherever that may be". There are some cross-overs to Moments in Place....").  The feedback you quoted, Sue, is of course also fascinating as I was imagining myself, not having experienced this haptic-dance project, what it would be like to feel a dance but not see the dancer.
> This is perhaps analogous to radio. And what it leaves to the imagination, Jacky.  You remembered (and made your 'Intimate Irrelevant Moments') about the 1974 final world cup game (Germany-Netherlands), which I remember having watched.  On the other hand, before our time, there was a final  (a few years after the war, and a defeated and humiliated germany was allowed to participate again), in 1954, in Switzerland, when Germany won 3:2 against Hungary and there was no television, only radio, and yet the final minutes of this game have had mythical proportions in German culture  and yet the action was only ever experienced aurally by the listeners to the radio broadcast,  the voice of the broadcast commentator, by the time I grew up, had become a collective reverberant, a series of vocal gestures perhaps indeed comparable to a "monument" in Kirk's sense of an intangible heritage, and something that could perhaps be re-constructed via archaeology.......
> ...and an "audio" archaeology  (of virtual embodiments of sound and music, as well as instruments) seems to be at the heart of a current exhibit at the Science Museum in London which I believe drew from the archives of the BBC and also featured a female inventor and sound artist probably not many have heard of -- Daphne Oram. The wall texts of the exhibit say that the museum " unveils lost gem of electronic music", the Oramics Machine, a unique synthesizer - invented in the1960s by Daphne Oram  who established the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. The synthesizer machine (see: http://www.nervoussquirrel.com/oramics.html) is rather amazing as it seems to have been an early synthesiser that has audio parameters controlled and sequenced by drawing on strips of clear film (!). Oram drew Michaux-like sinuous curves, shapes, graphic signs, figures and gestures onto film strips. The film is wound across a horizontal bed, with the graphical elements interpreted by light sensors. 
> The sound was early electronic sine waves, oscillations and noises etc (as rock musicians then also started to use them when the Moog Synthesizer became available); well now, Jacky, can you tell us more about your video and what you actually mean by vector video -- watching your "Impression of Bimhuis Dance & music improv Lab" (http://vimeo.com/99429183), your camera work looks like mine and I don;t know whaty vector video is. I also was not sure what (in that video) was the camera's observation point of view as it seemed straightforwardly focussed on the dancer and the dance gestures.
> Sue's work on inhabiting places (then and there and here and now), or Kirk's experimental archaeology with digital means thus gains an interesting contradictory dimension:  if we cannot see the place or experience it with our own body,
> but only through virtual means (and an other body becoming virtual, yes?), how  d o  we know or sense  (mentioning Harun Farocki,  whose critical images surely would interest Simon Taylor, reminds of what Brecht said about photography: namely that a photograph of the Krupp Steel Works does not tell us anything about the Krupp Steel Works), through "amplification"  or other definition (HD , 3D or other wise), what is the matter?
> (radio, by the way, is back, and thus our work of imagination.  I read the other day that audio books are becoming more and more popular, folks like to listen to literature,  I find this rather wonderful, as I enjoy imagining places and characters).
> regards
> Johannes Birringer
> dap-lab
> http://www.brunel.ac.uk/dap
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre

Artist, educator, researcher

Models of Observation


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