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computer screens

in the words of the creators

Bill T. Jones

Here, on the eve of the premiere of 22, I can divide my experience into perhaps three phases:

The first phase was my own and my collaborators’ identifying what in fact we would be attempting to achieve in the work. For me, to answer this question, I had to think what the new technology could bring to a real time solo performance that could not exist in any other situation. When it was decided that my 1983 improvisational talking dance, 21, would become the starting point, this was a great relief and a clear challenge for me and all of the team.

The second phase of discovery was in dealing with the question of how my movements would be read by the computer. I was struck by the complexity and the many hours of work necessary on the part of my artistic and technical collaborators as they endeavored to “teach” the computer to “read” my 22 simple shapes. This period gave me a great insight into where the field of motion capture, artificial intelligence and live performance truly are at this point and where they might be headed. I was humbled at the patience required of us all in leaving room for each other’s process and in responding to the needs of each of our various disciplines.

The final stage for me has been exhilarating and fraught with predictable frustrations. We have had to deal with the harsh realities that have asserted themselves. While we have had to readjust our expectations as to the degree of interactivity available, some very elegant and resourceful solutions were discovered. This is always exciting as one develops a new work!

I have been encouraged to see that certain conventional ideas from theater have asserted themselves as we had looked for solutions to the question of costume that must accommodate sensors, or the role of theatrical lighting and décor in shaping the content of the work and in supporting the technology’s needs.

I am full of anticipation as we approach the world premiere of the work!

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The Katherine K. Herberger College of Fine Art and the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering at Arizona State University.
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