This week I made a presentation at a conference about the use of Technology in Childrens Dance Theatre, held at FACT in Liverpool. I talked about my role as a digital designer for a childrens dance show called ‘A Different Tune‘, which is currently touring the North West, as well as giving people an insight into Isadora, a very nifty peice of software for digital design.
I based the presentation on three oppositions:
1. input / output 2. Values / value 3. media / idea
The first aim was to communicate how Isadora can be used to take any number of inputs (sound, movement, colour, position, midi….) and apply that to an output (size, volume, position, speed, etc ). For this I had people cheering to make the screen brighter, waving their arms to make a movie go faster and turning two volunteers into a human mixing desk by having raise and lower coloured paper infront of a camera.
This then raised the question of ‘Whats the point?’. And of course there isn’t any, unless you have an idea to communicate.
Finally I asked three people to design an imaginary creature (like in my ‘Creatures in Motion‘ workshop). They then developed a biology and history for those creatures. And finally they created the sound of that creature. As they growled, chirped and mewed, the images of the creatures grew, but this time we had all invested a lot in their stories and ideas and so were more deeply engaged by this relatively simple input / output.
I never generally like using technology for its own sake and find myself often having to argue for the absense of it in shows. An audience needs to engage with ideas, not technology.
Having spent much time already wondering whether something exists if it isn’t documented, I must admit I didn’ t take the chance of my work not existing and so I had it filmed. Here is the video of The Huge Entity installation being used by amused passers-by. What video can do is communicate effectively (more effectively than my writing anyway) how a piece actually works. Thanks to Neringa for making the film.