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Constant@Ateliers Claus – December 2008

The first follow-up of the ‘Transdisciplinary improvisation’ workshop at APT.
Big testing of our new digital environment during 2 days!


We were 4: a dancer, a musician, a visual artist, a storyteller/voice @ Ateliers Claus, Rue Crickxstraat 15, 1060 Brussels (provided with projection screen, beamer, lights…)

We played with a usb-webcam, which gave us a surface of 2 X 2m to play with the computer
We had hard times with the light – we did not have the possibility to test it, but wondered whether the best lightning is not just above the camera. Now we used big theatre spots as ‘indirect’ light on the 4m².

The floor was too shiny which made our presences on the camera jump like flees, when we covered the floor with a black cloth, it worked a lot better (I realize now Simon mentions this in the description of the workshop at APT, I had forgotten about it, but it is really important).

___DAY1___

– introduction

– we defined the triggerzones as ‘buttons’ of an interface: when we move into a zone we change worlds (f.ex. we had a zone in which we put an apple, when someone would take the apple, we would change from where we were (cafe) to the forest
-> we defined different worlds within and without the view of the camera and realized they are often too concrete. The machine as a world worked best.

– we decided to play without the camera, and tried to get a feel of playing with zones
We divided the entire space in 4 zones. Topic was the machine. Each defined for herself what she would do in each zone, during the play we would try to guess the rules the others set themselves and play with them.
This worked very well.

It was funny to see the rules each one set: language uses (machine language, poetry, Newspeak, daily conversation), different movements (light, broken, on the ground, jump), different sounds (melodic, bass, bruitage, piano), different topics (userfront, in the machine, networks, energy) and how these can easily infect each other

___DAY2___
(the floor is black and playing with the camera becomes a natural thing to do)

– getting used to the camera: we define different zonemaps and each one of us explores individually the different worlds while someone else directs the machine (moves from one map to another)

We used the image of a cup of coffee (not transparent), a music score (white on transparent background) and a sound wave (black on transparent background). As the soundwave was black, it only appeared when someone made it physically light up. The way we played with the images (hide under the cup of coffee, trying to move notes with the feet in the music score – having a 2-dimensional and sometimes almost 3-dimensional experience with the image) made the game very poetic to watch (as much the projection screen as the bodies moving in the space). Voice forgot to use text :-).

– we played all together in 1 zonemap, where each one defined a playing rule for herself for each trigger zone. It goes very fast when everyone plays. Needs training!

– we discussed the experiences/possibilities

AND EVEN !

___1st PLANNING JANUARY___

– We need time to set up (An checks with Brigittinnes whether we can do this on Friday during the day)
– We need time to learn to play with the camera: exploring the possibilities of the input and the play individually and collectively
– We need feedback from time to time: maybe work in 2 groups of 4 (with each time someone who watches)

– If we work with sound as another zone for triggers, we have to built this option in after having fully played/experimented with the actual version of the software (f.ex. 2nd day in the afternoon)

Proposal that each of us who was present at this 1st stage (4) would make a zone map with different trigger zones.

– each zonemap represents a world
– the images that are added to the trigger zones correspond (or not) to the works and to each other
– each zone map has 4 ‘exit-zones’, triggerzones that refer to the zonemaps of the others: we would chose 4 zones at the same place (can be the corners, but can also be in the middle of the scene); each exit zone would also get an object that could function as a ‘memory icon’ for the players and an ‘illusion effect’ for the audience (when we drink from the glass of water, it seems an act, but it is only the movement that has triggered the zone)
We never leave the space the same way as we came in.

– identification with objects – playing with objects made everyone enthousiastic
– the images we choose have to accord (or not) in form and signification
– in each zonemap/world we have the choice to create links or not

___REMINDERS FOR THE PLAYERS___

– We realized that skin color is best seen by the camera. We can play with white and black clothes and skin next time.

Images work very well, they need to be largely transparent. It is nice to create several trigger zones with different images so different stories can co-exist at the same time. It will be important to choose images that ‘go with each other’ in form (left/right, superposition…) and style (contrast, symbiotic…)

– It can be useful to write the scores down and try to replay them or pass them on afterwards

– It can be useful to do more research in different uses of language (slang, machine, code, newspeak, politically correct, transcriptions, abstract, poetry…) and in different universes (ObjScoreN seems to works very well for Sci-fi universes like f.ex. Flatland)

– Even if the worlds of the images are not appealing to you, the system gives you the possibility to transform the image by adding features on the scene (f.ex. the cup of coffee: Laia added a scarf and started turning it round, the coffee cup became a kind of toy)

– Each one starts from her discipline to create

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