Archive for Seminars

Nick Rothwell: cassiel.com

Nick Rothwell from cassiel.com gave a talk to the MA Media Arts students today, showing a brief roundup of the projects that he has been involved in, over the past few years. Nick introduced himself as being someone who works across many different art forms, creating compositions and interactive spaces for performance in many traditional locations such as stage, as well as site-specific work (like The Public, for example).

The discussion was wide ranging, from the difficulties of being involved with large projects involving funding from various sources, to how best to incorporate technology into dance performance. Where many producers want to see their dollars worth up there on the stage, letting the audience see what all the fuss is about, there’s often a balance between finding a mid-point. I personally, offered the suggestion that perhaps any stage-bound technology should be thought of in terms of stage design, and placed/dressed accordingly.

Nick’s creative practise moves beyond the performative/dance and includes work like, the intelligent lamppost that dreams and remembers events from the local pub nearby. Soon to be moved the Irish Museum of  Modern Art. A technically, complex piece of work that required the involvement of the council to install the work (digging and slicing the pavement, all in a day’s work for the council worker, less so for the media artist!).

Nick’s website is worth spending time on, and not just as a documentation of the projects he has been involved in. Digging down a bit you can uncover articles about everything from Max/MSP to the Roland D-50.

What’s valuable in Nick’s work, apart from the pleasure of the works themselves, is his obvious commitment to the documentation process. Always a good way of taking care of ‘housekeeping’ for an artists own practise, it’s also a good way to share things in the community more.

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Johannes Birringer at ICE

johannesbirringer

Last week at ICE, we had a visit from Johannes Birringer, who, amongst his other roles, is artistic director of AlienNation Co. Johannes leads projects involving a hybrid of dance and technology and came along to talk about some of the projects he has both researched, and been directly involved in. He’s also currently flogging a book (Performance, Technology, & Science), so there was a chance to find out more about the things he was showing us.

Some of his projects he talked about involved wearable media: that is, technology mixed into clothing. Having worked with fashion designers, the results were much more exciting and interesting to look at than the idea might at first appear (those fearing a Cyberman style suit, need not worry). The clothing was more along the lines of Alexander McQueen than the BBC props department.

One of the projects he dealt with in some depth was the 9Evenings events, in New York in the 1960s. From the blurb:

The idea of collaborating with technicians, not only initiated by Robert Rauschenberg and Billy Klüver but also organized and largely promoted by them, lead to the performances suggested by the festival title: Nine Evenings with performances by John Cage, Lucinda Childs, Merce Cunningham, Öyvind Fahlström, Alex Hay, Deborah Hay, Steve Paxton, Robert Rauschenberg, David Tudor, and Robert Whitman. Billy Klüver was again the driving force. The main technical element of the performances was the electronic modulation system TEEM, composed of portable, electronic units which functioned without cables by remote control. Cage used this system to activate and deactivate loud speakers that consistently reacted to movement by way of photo-cells. For not always being technically and artistically successful, these performances exhausted for the first time the full range of the live-aspect of electronics, taking advantage of its artistic potential in all of its diversity.

The people attending the talk were a mix of dance/performance and media folks from ICE and beyond. Despite the small crowd, it was a crowd that wanted to hear and respond to the works shown.

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