I made a crazy video of myself talking about mistakes and how it relates to being human. I did it, post-Rikers, at 3am, on my phone. I showed my manifesto from Reconstructing Mayakovsky and talked about the opacity of Roentgen’s wife’s wedding ring (above) then had Oppenheimer and Shizuku, my little robot girl from Atomic Vacation offer audio commentary. It was really fractured and poetic and, yes, odd. I just got word that they are flying me out to Ars Electronica for the Future Innovators Summit. I’m a little flabbergasted.
We are so pleased to announce that we got our first grant to support production of Queerskins ark –the second of 4 experiences for VR. Thank you, Peter Reed Foundation. Peter Reed was a filmmaker, dancer, and choreographer who, like so many artists, lost his life to AIDS. We hope to honor his memory with our work.
This episode combines narrative 3D volumetric filmmaking and interactive dance. As with Queerskins: a love story–we will create an experience in which the participant’s body is implicated in the storytelling. We think embodied cognition allows us access to universal human experiences in ways that we have yet to fully understand. Sebastian’s story is specific, but the experience of love, sexual desire, and fear of rejection/loss are part of being alive. Yes, we are looking for funders and/or in-kind donors–contact me with ideas! We know that most VR platforms are controversy and risk averse (and yes, two men dancing together, unfortunately, counts as controversial..and we are indie artists) so we are casting a wide net!
Sherril Dodds: “Through close range filming, facial expressions and subtle gestures can become part of the dance and so the dancing body shifts from being a general body to one that is detailed and specific. ”
Loie Fuller Le Dans des Mans–total darkness except hands illuminated.
Balazs: “more space and time in the film was taken up by the inner drama…almost exclusively by close-ups” outer movement /inner drama
Disconnect between rhythm of music and body (slowed down) and words.
Body weight added to “light” filmic body via impact on sand and by close-up sound. Think about using sand and sound to create “weight” in the dance, invoke the weight of bodies.
Hand held shakiness and movement with body rather than static adds an extra rhythm which causes body to appear as more abstract–an additional rhythm. This is then broken by body sped up a little repeatedly falling in small space. Repetition and weight becomes an almost unbearable tension.
As viewer gets closer hears breathing and body sounds. Abstraction –can distance speed up the dance?????? This is a really amazing idea to connect time and space……See use of dissolves.
Hubert Godard describes a “plastic corporeal memory” in humans that is the “modelling of the tissues that generate the tensional organisation of our bodies” The process involves the tonic muscles which specialize in gravitational responses” and the contain our bodies “most ancient memories” regarding Tricia Brown’s works.
Micro-choreographies consist of TENDENCIES toward movement that never actualize as a crossing from position A to position B. but constitute an expressive force as acentered resonations. What dancefilms like Hands, Element discover are micro-movements on the surface of –as well as the flows of energy through–the body in close-up..
Look at abstraction in Man Ray Emak Bakia–we read these as mechanical because abstract or because non gestural, how can we use abstract surfaces as “faces”?
Visitor as camera –time and space linked. Farther away–faster? Closer –slower (the close-up of film. Shadows of performers/transluscent double as in Many Ray’s film?
A moment of the face looking at you is powerful recognition!
What effects can we get just with Depthkit alone? eg. light reflections? Dancing through C02?
Sand imprint of feet and bodies.
Moving camera or still–rhythm of visitor or both?
Repetition gives “weight” to actions.
Consider marking “privelaged spaces” e. g. transparency changes
consider using dancers in water –water to sand transition? ends with heavy body on sand?
Vivarium bake in light effects (after Loie Fuller)
Narrative and Dance bodies as expressive vehicles
“negotiating the space between subject and film as dance negotiates a partner.”
***Can the visitors’ positioning alter the dance? The dance becomes “a sensory surface” that responds and articulates through motion?
Choreographer/Dancer Trevor Patrick: “The camera attempts to see that experience which is recorded in the tissues of the body, in ways which can be apprehended by an audience…The camera contemplates the action of breath, the subtle suggestion of movement under fabric, over skin, the details of gesture, posture and facial expression. Each of these elements offers the viewer a point of entry into the experience of the body. detail may be seen at the level of imagining.”
We are going to SIGGRAPH 2018 –we will be talking about our approach to storytelling in VR and why we decided to combine 360 video, photogrammetry and 3D modeling, Depthkit volumetric video live action capture, and 3D scanned vintage objects to create Queerskins. Stop by and say hello.
Confronted with a huge white box of a space that could serve as a cenotaph, we had to rethink how to create an interactive installation that would continue our themes of love, loss, memory and imagination. Our plan was to attempt to domesticate the monumental (and fail) and to elevate the every-day (the photos of prior participants) by dramatically lighting them on the white expanse of wall. Adopting the moving box “plinth” we’d used in the middle room at Tribeca, we replicated it across the space to create a cohesive experience. In addition, we used the excess of space to offer the visitor time for contemplation as they moved from one photo to another or one arrangement of objects to another. The result is something that feels human-scale, austere, and memorial.
Inside Out Festival is partnering for the first time with The Toronto International Film Festival to bring Queerskins: a love a story for a month long installation in the beautiful gallery at the Lightbox building. This is our first time in a proper gallery space as opposed to film festival venue and we are so thrilled to have this opportunity. The installation will feature photographs by Tagger Yancey IV of Tribeca participants (see prior post) and also an interactive, immersive installation in which we attempt and fail (a little) to domesticate the gallery space.
Queerskins is a crowd-sourced photography project inspired by the interactive narrative and virtual reality experience, Queerskins: a love story (www.queerskins.com). In the VR experience, participants construct the semi-fictional character of Sebastian, a young gay physician from a rural Catholic Missouri family who dies of AIDS in 1990, by interacting with a box of his belongings, photographs and a diary. Commissioned by The Tribeca Film Festival, where the work premiered, we created an immersive interactive installation, a recreation of Sebastian’s childhood attic bedroom, transformed by imagination and memory. We asked visitors to consider their own stories of love and loss, and, as they went through the installation, to find an object that spoke to this. Tagger Yancey then photographed them in communion with the objects and invited them to share, in writing, the object’s personal significance. These are the photographs and stories which you will find in this book.
We did not anticipate how deeply and personally the act of choosing and object and being photographed would affect people. By creating a temporary shared, but solitary experience in which shame, the loss of love and acceptance, and transcendence intermingle and are made visible, Queerskins created a safe space for emotional contemplation. We are still trying to understand how this combination of the virtual and the real generated such an open and intense exchange with strangers. We are grateful and honored that our art has been a catalyst for this.