Category Archives: Dance && Code

Dance Loops, Golden Master @ NCUR

Dance && Code

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The National Conference on Undergraduate Education (NCUR) is, as its name suggests, the country’s premiere outlet for scholarly and creative work by undergraduates. UVU dance student Molly Buonforte, who participated at the Utah Conference on Undergraduate Research (UCUR), and I were able to make the trip to the University of Kentucky to present a reworked version of Dance Loops. Following the nomenclature from software releases, this version was the “Golden Master],” which refers to the production-ready version of software. This was our largest audience by far, as well as the first performance on an actual theatre stage (yay!). It was also the first performance with original music, as I created two pieces in GarageBand for the performance.

Despite the “Golden Master” nomenclature, there was a string of technical difficulties that nearly prevented the performance: the extension cable for the Kinect didn’t work, then the…

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Dance Loops, Open Beta @ SoTE

Dance && Code

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After learning a little more about what to do and what NOT to do with your first rendition of Dance Loops (i.e., the “alpha release” @ UCUR), we had a chance to do a few things over for our “open beta” (AKA the “nearly there” version). This time, we were at the Scholarship of Teaching and Engagement Conference (SoTE) at my home school, Utah Valley University, in Orem, Utah. Superstar UVU dancer Hannah Braegger McKeachnie reprised her role from Dance Loops and performed the first section, to the music of Julia Kent (with an edited version of “Gardermoen”). We still performed in a sub-optimal environment – a partitioned meeting room, in this case – and we still have abominable video but, otherwise, things went beautifully. We also got to meet some wondeful people from other schools who were interested in the piece and…

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Dance Loops Accepted at ISEA2014!

Dance && Code

ISEA2014

Wonder of Wonder, Miracle of Miracles! Dance Loops was accepted for ISEA2014! That is, the 20th International Symposium on Electronic Art, which meets in Dubai in November of 2014. (I wrote about this application in an earlier post.)

In fact, it was accepted THREE TIMES. The first was the faculty piece, which we are calling “Debauched Kinesthesia: The Proprioceptive Remix.” As I mentioned before, “debauched kinesthesia” has nothing to do with debauchery. Rather, it’s a term from the Alexander Technique, which my wife Jacque Bell teaches, that refers to the disconnect that many people have between what they think their body is doing and what it actually is doing. And “proprioceptive” because that refers to the sense of where your own body is and what it’s doing, and “remix” because the dancers will be able to rearrange and replay videos of their own dancing while…

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Dance Loops, Alpha Release @ UCUR

Dance && Code

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In the software world, the “alpha release” is the “not-quite-ready-for-primetime” version. It is usually circulated internally so the bugs can be worked out, although there are occasionally public alpha releases by very daring (or foolish) companies. I’m not totally sure which of the two camps we fall into, but here is an extremely non-professional video – we like to call it the “bootleg version” – of our first public performance of Dance Loops.

The full name of this particular piece is “Dance Loops, Alpha Release: Trio with Live, Interactive Video Looping.” It was performed at the Utah Conference on Undergraduate Research at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. The dancers, in order of appearance, are Hannah Braegger McKeachnie, Izzy Arrieta-Silva, and Molly Buonforte, all of whom are undergraduate dance majors at Utah Valley University, where I teach. I designed the visuals and did the programming in Max/MSP/Jitter

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Dance && Code: New Project Site

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I decided that Dance Loops needed to be part of a bigger project, which is how Dance && Code was created. I’m moving most of the dance related stuff over there and I’m inviting other people to take part, so please take a look!

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Dance Loops accepted at UCUR, SoTE, and NCUR!

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I mentioned in the last post that I had sent proposals from the Dance Loops project off to a few conferences, such as the Utah Conference on Undergraduate Research. We got accepted at both (!) and even at another one as an added bonus: UVU‘s Scholarship of Teaching and Engagement Conference (SoTE)!

And so we have three performances scheduled:

  • UCUR on 28 February 2014
  • SoTE on 28 March 2014
  • NCUR on 03-05 April 2014

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p>Yay! More info as we prepare.

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“Debauched Kinesthesia” and “Dance Loops” Let Loose (Sort of)

Well, I’ve sent out conference applications for Dance Loops… finally. I’ve added a couple of extremely amateurish videos as vaguely supportive material. Mostly, they both just show that it’s possible to use the Kinect and Jitter to do some video recording and effects. I’d much rather have actual demonstration videos with the looping in place but, well, that takes more time and we’re still working on things. The first application is for the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR), which will meet at the University of Kentucky in April of 2014. That application uses the very exciting title of “Dance Loops: A Dance Performance with Live, Interactive Video Looping.” (At least it’s self-descriptive.) Here’s the video:

The other application is for ISEA2014, the 20th International Symposium on Electronic Art, which meets in Dubai (!) in November of 2014. That one gets a much more interesting title: “Debauched Kinesthesia: The Proprioceptive Remix.” Woo hoo! By the way, “debauched kinesthesia” has nothing to do with debauchery. Rather, it’s a term from the Alexander Technique, which my wife Jacque Bell teaches, that refers to the disconnect that many people have between what they think their body is doing and what it actually is doing. And “proprioceptive” because that refers to the sense of where your own body is and what it’s doing, and “remix” because the dancers will be able to rearrange and replay videos of their own dancing while they themselves are dancing. Very exciting! Anyhow, here’s the not-very-helpful video that accompanied that application:

So, we’ll see what happens. It may be that I get to travel across the country with a few students in April, and maybe even around the world later that year. I’ll let you know what happens!

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Screendance Workshop @ U of U

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I’m thrilled to say that I was able to attend our friend Ellen Bromberg’s biennial (more or less) screendance workshop at the University of Utah. The was my first real introduction to making screendance – also known as dance for camera, dance for video, video dance, cinédance, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. This workshop focused on editing as a form of choreography – something I had never considered – and was taught by the fabulous Simon Fildes (that’s him in the top right frame).

[The last time the Screendance festival convened, it was Simon’s wife, the extraordinary videographer Katrina McPherson who led the event. The collectively constitute Goat Media.]

The basic idea is to take lots and lots of random footage of dance and then create the order, transitions, and meaning by selecting, cutting, placing, repeating, and so on. I had always assumed that the choreography was created, the filming/video was blocked out, and things essentially went in a linear order. Oh, silly me; nothing of the sort. Film here, film there, throw it all in a big pile and then start mixing and matching. Amazing things can emerge.

Take a look at anything by Simon for stellar examples:

Or my masterpiece, built using random bits and pieces of footage that Simon provided for our experimentation:

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Live Looping Is Live!

Woo hoo! It’s a tiny step but an important one, as this is our first successful experiment with live video looping, which will be central to our Dance Loops project at Utah Valley University. This video is based on motion sensitive recording and processing in Max/MSP/Jitter via my Mac’s iSight camera. You’ll notice that the movement from the first half persists during the second half, in which additional movement is layered. The looped videos for Dance Loops will be filmed with a Kinect video/depth camera and will probably be played back in a very different way, but this represents the first step in that direction.

 

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“Hello World” Video from RDT (Now with Audio!)

La voilà!  The edited – and now sonified! –  video from our fabulous art/technology creation, “Hello World.” Although I posted on this recently, here’s the basic idea: “Hello World” is a collaboration between my lovely wife, choreographer Jacque Lynn Bell, and me. I did the sound editing/design and created the projected visuals in Processing. The piece was performed by Repertory Dance Theatre (rdtutah.org) at the Rose Wagner Theatre in Salt Lake City, Utah, 4-6 October 2012. The videography and editing were both by Lynne Wimmer (thank you, Lynne!).

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