CCPRG Meeting Summary 19th March 2014

Notes by Joe Watson:

Ian Grant

  • Digital Shadows: Performing Hybrid Shadow Theatre
  • Entering the write-up stage of his PhD
  • Interests pertinent to traditions of digital puppetry:
    • Performative media archaeology, with roots in the work of Zielinski, Parikka and others
    • Ahistorical approaches to media forms
    • Fetish and Dead Media
  • Ian has been practicing puppetry for 6 years and is fascinated with previous forms of puppetry. Has a performance arts background with an interest in ‘creative coding’
  • Digital puppetry – computer capture of human gesture, re-targeted to ‘screenspace’. There is a connect with games technologies
  • Using Unity 3d – v. flexible games engine useful also for installations/quick prototyping
  • Using Leap Motion ‘gesture gadget’ and multiple iPod touch surfaces
  • Desire to record gesture and performance in digital puppetry have become very important
  • Interested in ‘multiple layerings’ of performance
  • Uses digital acquisition of old shadow puppets of Turkish and Greek traditions. These are ‘re-animated’ using the ‘Shadow Engine’
  • Also talked about ‘machinema’ – machine + cinema
  • Kenny Chow – embodied cognition
  • Questions – is there an idea of conservation? What does digitisation of a skill craft lend to the idea of conservation? Where is it heading? What can ‘the digital’ learn from puppetry?

Tom Reid

  • Audiovisual Syntaxes in Contemporary Composition Readings of Early Abstract Cinema: Music as Formal and Conceptual Intermediary
  • How do abstract films embody pre-existing musical forms (rondo, sonata, etc.) and aspects of later musical form (e.g. rhythmic dissonance, metric modulation, minimalism, looping)?
  • How does this affect justification for re-interpretative music/sound, the choice of materials and the search for egalitarian relationships?
  • Interested in ‘sensuous critique’
  • Wants to avoid more conceptual abstract reading of the films, formalist readings, and approaches that reinforce or contradict the films
  • Interested in exploring new modes of mediation between fixed visual material, fixed musical material and live performance practice, and how to embody and interrogate visually expressed forms and concepts
  • Background on abstract cinema with focus on Walter Ruttmann: lighter in tone and more dance like than others of the period (20s to 40s); shows a dialectical approach to structure, e.g. curve/straight line – human machine polarity – link to sonata form? Tension between additive and evolutionary forms of motion
  • Advantage of using archive films: one can compare with other attempts to score, e.g. Hans Eisler
  • Tom’s approach much more facilitated by technology
  • Wants to create a distancing effect and play down whimsy of film
  • His musical response is densely layered and poly-tonal, with intrusions of the vernacular, e.g. boogie-woogie. ‘An artifice of complimentation’
  • Interested in audiovisual dissonance – rhythmic friction between image and sound
  • Instrumentation currently artificial, using MIDI sequencers. Final version should involve human performers with the MIDI
  • Exploring human/machine polarity
  • Questions from the group on how the original film was made and how Eisler would have scored his original soundtrack. Comments that it seemed like a different film with Tom’s music. Tom responded that he likes density, that he was going against the sparseness of the image with simultaneous, multiple musical readings of the image


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