Choreographic Coding Laboratory #6 Auckland, New Zealand

6th Choreographic Coding Lab (CCL) hosted at Colab AUT in Auckland, New Zealand from 15-19 February 2016.

Respect this land and where we come from

Choreographic conversations
We were invited as guests to participate in the lab alongside 26, coders, dancers, animators and musicians. We worked in teams to develop projects over five days in an incubator workshop that explored the question of how choreographic thinking can be applied in environments extended by digital technologies.

CCL took the following questions as catalysts for experimentation:

1) What can choreography bring to the design of human-computer interfaces?
2) Can the relational thinking of the Pacific inform agency in virtual environments?

The Participants: TEAM 1 Becca Wood, Nick Mulder, Mark Schafer; TEAM 2 Kasia Pol, Russell Scoones, Kasina Campbell, Ria Paki, Olivier Jean, Puck Murphy; TEAM 3 Terri Crawford, Stuart Foster, Kasina Campbell; TEAM 4 Bruno Martelli, Ruth Gibson, Carol Brown, Alys Longley; TEAM 5 Jennifer Nikolai, Gregory Bennett, Stefan Marks, Zahra Killeen‐Chance

Organising Team: Harry Silver, Jennifer Nikolai, Carol Brown, Lisa Dreyer, Stefan Marks, Gregory Bennett, Javier Estevez, Steph Hutchison, Geof Gilson

Introduction:
The introduction was led generously by Carol Brown ( UoA) and Jennifer Nicolai ( AUT). Terri Ripeka Crawford gave a beautiful Maori welcome ‘Kia- ora, respect this land and where we come from.’ She then sang a karakia to us. What an amazing way to begin our first week in Aoteaora.

poi
poi
poi
poi
introductions
introductions

We were hosted by CoLab, a well equipped and supported mc studio with Greg, Javier, Stefan and their students all around to help at any given time.

beautiful balls
beautiful balls

Classes were held in the mornings followed by focussed time on projects at hand. The working space adjacent to the motion capture studio was very familiar to us, a windowless room, a black box. Its proximity to the motion capture lab meant that frequent dipping in and out of each space was convenient. Yet, we yearned for a break out space.

bruno testing environments
bruno testing environments
one black box to another
one black box to another another

You are a human body but you could be anything
Motion catching and the Lab as a site of experimental encounter.
[Ruth, Bruno, Alys, Carol, Steph]

Encounters are negotiated through conversations as well as through thresholds of visibility/invisibility, being On Air and Off Air, being inside and outside, cellular and digital.

We negotiate patterns (somatic vocabularies and the affordances of data).

The system learns the range of motion and becomes a predictive interpellation for a future unrealised potential.

Not so much: What are we in the process of making?
But how shall we proceed?
and
What matters now?

Working from a place of uncertainty and curiosity

Alys provides a series of word prompts and image scores that formed the basis for a session in the Motion Capture Studio.

Moving between her tactile (she hands them to us individually) paintings of bleeding watercolour blues and greens – lines, filigree, wriggles, and blobs – and words that have emerged through our conversations about oceans, remains, and space junk we create a ritual structure for catching movement.

This catching was future casting and live.

We organise the conditions for a series of experiments.
Performative assemblages emerge between:-

– pathways into and out of the volume
– energies
– voids
– patterns
– affective traces
– entanglements
– sounds
– interactions
– stillness and movement
– doubling
– appropriating
– decomposing
– manipulating
– intensifying

Ruth and Carol moving in alternate short bursts of improvisation.
Entering and leaving the volume on a single gong.
They are recorded by the motion capture system and by Bruno as a series of photographic animated line-stills. And witnessed through live streaming as well as live presence.

Atmosphere
Side-stepping dichotomies between subject and object, human and non human, live and virtual. We turn the motion capture lab into an augmented improvisational performance studio.

Exploring ways of sensing.

How do new things emerge?
What do they do?
What concept of choreography is emerging here?

We count on the contingency of encounter as that which forces us to think.

It’s our first dance (experiment) together.

bruno, carol & alys
bruno, carol & alys

Moving in Oculus VR

conversation with headset
conversation with headset

Experimenting with different VR environments Ria Paki bodying forth the potential space of a virtual sky and sea. We tested different virtual environments, some bespoke, and looked at how we moved with and in them. Inhabiting spaces.

ria
ria
ria
ria
ria
ria
ria
ria

Talks/Presentations etc.
Feb 18 – Teach Skinner Releasing Technique Class One
Feb 19 –  ‘Motion Catching’ Gibson/Martelli Presentation
March 2 – Gibson/Martelli Presentation to Architecture/Animation/Dance & Technology students – University of Auckland
March 7 – VR Environment presentation to digital design 3rd years – AUT

ruth & carol
ruth & carol
ruth
ruth
ruth & carol
ruth & carol
ruth & carol
ruth & carol

Nostalgia
The Choreographic Coding Lab experience reminded us of ‘Digital Dancing’ led by Terry Braun in the UK in 1990’s where teams of coders, artists, dancers and choreographers teamed up to explore performance technologies. This era was influential and provided us with the space and opportunity to work in a way which fell outside the commercial domain. I am grateful for that time and my time at CCL in New Zealand 20 years on as I am sure many choreographers and dancers coming to this for the first time relished the opportunity to realise their ambitions. It was a joy to see how the technology influenced the making processes, ideas and concepts and in turn the exchange between disciplines of dance to technology. Cross pollination. Also which I think is important to note is that here there has been a huge technical shift since the early days and at CoLab there was a technical team on hand to help with every step. At Digital Dancing we had to fend for ourselves.

Digital Dancing led by Terry Braun Sadlers Wells Lylian Baylis 1996, Riverside Studios 1997, Jerwood Space 1998.

tiny in the frame
tiny in the frame