Monday, April 23, 2007

thoughts on the reception and the integration of technology

In an increasingly digital world, it seems that no aspect of life or the arts will emerge unchanged by the essentially unimpeded progress of technology. Even the stodgiest of the performing arts have been transformed, in particular, by new video and broadcasting technologies—the finest ballet houses, for example, simulcast performances onto air waves and into other venues, while the opera-going experience has been transformed by the inclusion of supertitles broadcast above the stage. The Berkeley Dance Project’s inclusion of tele-immersion lab images is the first major technological manipulation of the modern dance medium that I have witnessed.

The pre-performance to “The Reception” featured one dancer present on stage sharing in a communal dance with another, located in the Hearst Mining Building but broadcast onto the stage. Although the projected image moved smoothly, its resolution was splintered, an anesthetization of the image I found appealing, but that might otherwise be looked upon as a shortcoming of the technology. It was apparent that the communal dance occurring between the dancer onstage and the dancer offstage was occurring in real time, as they mimicked each other’s movements. And yet, what purpose did the tele-immersion technology serve? While every aspect of the following performance had a clear purpose and part to play in the overall message of “The Reception,” the interaction between present and remote dancers seemed more an exercise in utilizing impressive technology as opposed to an integrated aspect of the entire performance. By contrast, the use of projected dancing images during the main portion of the performance had a clear function within the piece, underlining the tension between reality and presence emphasized by the work.

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5 Comments:

Blogger Caitlin Halsey said...

I agree that having the performers dance with each other in remote locations through technology did seem a bit pointless. Since they could have just danced with eachother, especially since we saw a pretty flat image of them. However, this technology is still being experimented with, and I am sure very interesting things will come out of it. Also, the visual quality of the dancing was an interesting and new experience for me.

4/24/2007 12:40 PM  
Blogger kalphonso said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4/26/2007 2:47 PM  
Blogger kalphonso said...

I would also have to agree that the act of them dancing together (even though they weren't in the same space) felt more like a demonstration of the technology than an actual part of the show. I, however, REALLY liked the part where the narrator drew a girl on the board and she hugged him in the end. That part completely went with the theme of the whole dance and the questions he was posing to the audience. Was she somewhere else?

4/26/2007 2:49 PM  
Blogger Shyam said...

In one part of the dance, the remote dancing was an integral part of the presentation. Specifically, when the dancers formed a line and two dancers fell behind the screen, images of the two dancers came up on the flat screens placed in the line. Although the dance projected on the screens were not live, they were remote. So I think we should be more specific when we say "remote", meaning we should include the live element of it as well when we talk about the technology.

4/28/2007 8:23 PM  
Blogger Nina said...

I also thought the pre-show introduction was a little disconnected from the rest of the show. Though there could be interpretations made between the tele-communication technology and the dance's critique of that technology, the usage of the webcam image itself was not very well-integrated into the whole performance. As such, I felt that it was very random.

4/29/2007 11:21 PM  

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