Artistic Considerations in the use of the EyeCon Motion Tracking System


No matter how long my essay runs on, working interactively will require understandings which can only be gleaned from the physical experience itself. Interactive performance work has a learning curve all its own so don't get frustrated! And let's not take the easy way out! Let's re-tool and re-think.

The choreographer, composer and designer must all give up trusted paradigms. The traditional model, in which a choreographer engages a designer or composer to build a "setting" for their dance has little relevance to work of this kind. Interactive systems are not "a kind of stage set"! They require a new kind collaboration between artists -- it is more intense, involving more sacrifice. The composer, for example, may have to give up considerable control over how the music sounds as it may be played by a group of dancers through their movements in space. Remember, dancers are generally, not musicians. Speaking as a dancer: I have learned this! We are not used to hearing what we are doing and in fact the demands on our sense of timing are far greater than we are used to. When you "follow" music there a certain room for error -- a half second here or there is generally not noticeable. Not so when the music is following you!

And it is not only timing I am speaking about. Spacing -- being a few inches more to the left -- may be critical in a way reminiscent of film or television work. The dance must be modified in other ways as well. And more important than any of the technical details is getting a "feel" for its use; learning to give human qualities to the technical system (what, other than this, is dance?).

We must compensate for the "unintelligent" computer and this requires engineers and artists to communicate extremely well with one another. This, in turn, means gaining rudimentary knowledge of one another's field. There is much to learn when you start down the road of dance and technology. Every piece must be "premiered" three times as you will not get it right the first time. These are all things which dancers and the dance world as a whole are not used to. The point is, have patience; it will be rewarded.