A digital-dance performance object
Black & White Project Space
Brooklyn, NY, October 28, 201
2.5 minute documentation, Claudia Hart
3D animation and concept by Claudia Hart
in collaboration with
and Edmund Campion
RECUMULTIONS reconsiders Primary Accumulation (1972), the seminal dance film made by Trisha Brown, in the context of post-analog media. It re-examines possibilities first proposed by Brown in her choreography for a real body recorded by video but now contemporized as a virtual body performing within non-linear digital space as a 3D animated film. It was originally produced for the Black & White Gallery / Project Space, a site-specific not-for-profit art center in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in dialog and with support from Tatyana Okshteyn, its Founding Director. I'd seen Noemie Lafrance's Melt premiere at Black & White in 2003, and it melded with the Brown work in my conception.
The basis of a RECUMULTIONS installation is a performance created while I was a Fellow at the Ellen Stone Belic Institute for the Study of Women and Gender in the Arts and Media in Summer 2010. In collaboration with me, Roberto Sifuentes--a founding member of the performance group La Pocha Nostra--re-performed and then interpreted Brown's Accumulation. Sifuentes' performance was intentionally erratic and spastic, in counterpoint to Brown's original systematic and intentionally inexpressive sequence of motions.
With support from the Institute, the Sifuentes performance was recorded in the Columbia College motion capture lab for use as raw data for the creation of a new animated choreography. Sifuentes' male and significantly gendered movements will be combined and recombined to form an irrational "rational" system of movement, inserted into a female avatar that I have designed. The result is an animation of a transgendered dancer, apparently floating several inches above the walls, compelled by captured motion that accurately expresses gravity yet at the same time uncannily defies it.
The composer Edmund Campion, Professor of Music at the University of California, Berkeley where he also serves as Co-Director at CNMAT (The Center for New Music and Audio Technologies) has created a malleable digital score for RECUMULTIONS. Campion's work proposes a hybrid music, merging digital technologies with more traditional musical forces. Intuitive music fragments and processes (often inspired by physical improvisation) are built into complex digital systems. His compositional strategy strongly reflects that of Hart and Sifuentes. The unique RECUMULTIONS music software was created with support from CNMAT and former CNMAT Music Systems Designer, Matthew Wright.
RECUMULTIONS builds off of Trisha Brown's early work that so eloquently commented on gravity and on systems and to invert it in relation to our contemporary digital, baroque, and mediated culture.
Recumulations is an individual work of choreography for a prosthetic body. It expresses the fluidities of time and space and the possibility of the transmigration of gender: all significant qualities of the digital realm. Recumulations presents an uneasy realism particularly relevant in our present day culture where the boundary between a representation and reality, and generally between the real and the artificial - is being daily renegotiated.
On October 28th, 2011, during his live performance in the raw and stripped down environment of Black and White Gallery's Project Space, Roberto Sifuentes mirrorED and responded to large-scale projections of his motion-captured performance, used by Hart as the basis of her animation. The display of Sifuentes' live body revealed the continuum from real to virtual, recombining movement, affect and interface at the level of performance. What resulted was a hy-borg, a hybrid identity that is both multicultural and post-human.
Eerily reminiscent of the sci-fi/horror classic, Videodrome, but created decades later, Hart and Sifuentes did not express the same sense of fear and anxiety about media as was conveyed by the David Cronenberg 1983 film. RECUMULATIONS instead conveyed a kind of grotesque beauty, reflecting the artist's embrace of a contemporary world in which the fantastical artificiality made possible by advanced technologies has long since passed over the boundary of the real.
RECUMULATIONS was funded by The School of the Art Institute of Chicago,The Ellen Stone Belic Center for the Study of the Women and Gender in the Media and Art, and the University of California, Berkeley. Additional support was provided by Black & White Project Space with public funds from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.