Monday, March 10, 2008

My Feedback of “New Visions in Performance. The Impact of Digital Technologies” by Steve Dixon

This article introduces the meaning of “double” as well as the performing effects through the use of “digital” technologies in computer. The representative example is the digital double in Igloo’s “Viking Shoppers (2000)” by Ruth Gibson. In this performance, Ruth doubles her body on a contrary motion. It expresses Lacan’s theory of the mirror stage, which focuses on the misconceived and fictional identity. Through this double experiment, performers explore the fundamental of the existence. Although the digital double in performance reflects the human nature and body movements, I am wondering if the digital double technology can really mirror our inner spirit or thoughts?

I am especially interested in the aspect considering the double as reflection. According to the provided examples, I personally think the doubling effect leads human misrecognition in terms of the visual form and real-time body motion. At this point, the virtual digital technology overpowers the reality because the digital double enlarges the visual form of our live body movements. However, I disagree with Dixon’s definition of reflection double. What he describes is focus on the superficial reflection. Since the “double has an ancient and global lineage within religious, occult and folkloric traditions”, I think the double also mirrors what we thought about spirit, self-consciousness, and psychic status.

In addition, the digital technology reminds me about my composing experience in the TEEVE with TI system (e.g. 3D model, Wii remote control). I was fascinated by the special effects displayed on the three screens as well as came out with many imaginations. The double certainly mirrors the contrast between reality and fictional image. Hence, the double effect represents what we inspired from our experience or what we intend to do. In summary, this article acknowledges me how the computer technology can overcome even exceed the traditional performing difficulty or limitation. The digital double opens a new gateway to artists of creating future artwork.

Composing in the TEEVE

Creating music in the TEEVE: Tele-immersive environment (TI) was a rewarding experience to me. Through my observation of Renay and Laura’s body movements on the screen, I came with a new idea – composing new music with electronic acoustic effect. The reason that I want to compose electronic music is because the dancers’ physical motion displaying on the screen looks fragmental. The dancers sometimes hidden beyond the background set (e.g. river, animal signal, geographical landscape). In addition, the TI system provides Wii remote control to adjust the dancers’ physical motion and the space on the screen. Those events give me ideas of my new dance music project. I initially brought out two electro-acoustic projects. After one and half hour rehearsal and discussion, I then combine both as one piece: “The Conceptual View of Complexity” combines two electronic acoustic compositions to depict the complicated image that I see from the screen.

During the collaborating process, I was curious about if acoustic or electronic music will affect the dancer or choreographer’s physical environment. And my partners told me that as long as the music sound fits the choreographer’s initial ideas, it works. The sound does affect the dancer’s physical response. It doesn’t matter it is generated electronically or acoustically. I, however, think the music sound, the choreography, and the TI technology affect the audience’s perception to the theme that we intend to express. Because the sound can create the mood and environment, and human body answers them.

This experience of composing music in the TEEVE is unforgettable milestone in my composition pathway. It reminds me Martha Graham’s new conception – modern dance has become more realistic. The dancers’ body movements are not sophisticated for social occasions but serve as a tool expressing what the choreographer intends to tell. From this composing experience, I learn how to work with two collaborators – dancers and TI system, how to approach the choreographer’s ideas with different genre, as well as how does the TI system and technology affect the atmosphere.