Inspired by Jean Toomer's experimental 1923 text of the Harlem Renaissance, CANE explores memories of African American sharecropping held by a technologically-devised canefield. Created by technologists, dancers, and visual artists, CANE suggests possibilities of shimmering mediated histories mixed in real-time via a specially-constructed responsive environment.
The sound environment for this work manipulated audio files from the Library of Congress archive of Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938. Processed through Supercollider and Max to respond to their own recurrences, these voices of memory became actors to interact with the live performers and prepared soundscape for the work. A Wii-mote that interacted with Isadora software allows for the manipulation of visual materials in response to physical gestures by the audience engaged with the interface.
DeFrantz joined the faculty at Duke in 2011, after twelve years on the faculty at MIT. He teaches courses in Performance and Technology, Contemporary Performance, and African American Studies. He has taught in the MFA program of the American Dance Festival since 2005, and serves as President of the Society of Dance History Scholars. Wideman-Davis dance, founded in 2003, explores contemporary performance in relation to history, memory, gender, and identity. .
In all, CANE suggests ways to rethink how environments hold history, and how technologically- mediated environments can tilt simultaneously toward what has been, and what is yet to be.
Performed by Tanya Wideman, Thaddeus Davis, Kalin Morrow, Amber Mayberry. Conceived by Thomas F. DeFrantz, Visual Design and Programming by Eto Otitigbe, Music by Tara Rodgers, Sound Programming by Jamie Keesecher, Additional Programming and Sound Discoveries by Jung-Eun Kim and Peter Whincop. Lighting by Jesse Belsky, Costumes by Marissa Erickson. Production Dramaturg: Jules Odendahl-James, Production Management Shireen Dickson.