Lake Studios / Digital Body Week 1
I'm now one week into my residency at Lake Studios Berlin, which has begun with a workshop, Digital Body Performance & Technology Laboratory, led by Mark Croniglio (founder of Isadora) Benjamin Krieg and guests. During the two-week intensive I along with 10 other artists are invited to "re-concieve notions of how technology can be used to expand the language of performance. The lab is an opportunity for professionals working in the field of dance and performance and to experiment, exchange, challenge, and learn from each other."
There's much to say about what we are learning about image, data, and many many cords, but instead i'm going to share the experiments I've been working on as they develop. Studies below were just begun yesterday with the help of sound artist michael tuttle and dancer Anna Hull.
Thoughts / Process
I wanted to create a simple tool that would delay audio 5 seconds. The idea was that a performer could sit near or in the audience and speak into the a microphone but the audience would only hear the performer's un-amplified voice. Then, 5 seconds later, that same text would play on the speaker. I am interested in the differences in intimacy and authority between the two voices and the ability to respond to your own text. The issue is that (obviously, although I didn't think of it) the microphone then also picks up the sound coming out of the speaker and re-plays is. So what you get is an echo, rather than a single repetition. Also, this delay system is actually a bit tricky to create in Isadora (the program we are mainly working with in this workshop) so instead another participant (michael tuttle) helped me to build it in another program called Max.
Ok so now i'm working in a completely different program to do this one thing that I thought would be kind of interesting for one moment in a piece. This begins to feel .... unideal. But michael was reminded of another program he had build on Max that worked with 8 layered delays. This takes my issue of the system essentially feeding on itself (re-amplifying the amplified sound) and ... amplifies it. Now, the originally input sound can be delayed and replayed 8 times and the length of the delay can be individually controlled between .001 and 1 second. Errors and confusion lead to fun things so, long story kind of short, I loved this new system.
In the first clip below I am playing with this system using only the input of my computer speakers. In the second, Anna is working with a handheld mic. The room mic we had available was too close to the wall-mounted speakers so it created almost immediate speaker feedback. Overall, I'll want to play around with different setups as we move forward.
Things i'm interested / want to building on:
The sound echo allows you to respond to your past in a way. I do something and it remains in the air. I can then actually hear it separately from my own action, re-process it and respond to it. It slows down time without slowing down your own actions, while also overwhelming and distorting your sense of the present. I want to practice this listening to yourself and responding both as a solo and duet practice. Having tried this a bit already, responding to a second person is quite difficult. I'm interested in how this develops its own sort of movement technique.
Obvious, but sometimes it's important to state the obvious: difference between vocal sounds and body sounds. How can we confuse and mix the two? For example, foot squeaking on the floor can sound a lot like a voice. Whistling sounds like birds. Pulling across clothes sounds like rain. etc.
Integrating response to sound and creating sound without overwhelming the system. Interweaving the sound creation and movement creation so it is a seamless action, or creating sharp cuts between the two (for example just listening). When do we move and why? This question can't really be answered without placing it in the context of a performance or work ... it's basically the dramaturgical why of the whole thing.
Claps, slaps and bangs are very fun (always, but particularly in this program). If you have a randomized delay on it creates a wild rhythm. It is very difficult to then follow this rhythm (Anna's point) because unless this one random delay system has been playing for a long time you don't yet know the rhythm. And on top of this it is so exquisitely irregular that following it is very difficult. Anyway, again want to figure this out maybe just because it's difficult, but also because it connects to responding to your own past--an inability to fully grasp your own history and especially the histories of others.
OK there is much more but this is getting way too long. On to a couple samples. One is me really just first using it and playing with vocal responses on a consistent delay. Second is Anna on the second day working with body sounds and loose score.