Tobin’s Journal: April 24, 2005

Sunday, April 24, 2005

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The Chelsea Chelsea project had its two showings in New York this past week. Very interesting overall. A lot of hours of teching, trying to get this link between the theatre in NY and the room in the 606 club in Chelsea London, but in the end, The Lincoln Center show worked and I was happy with the result, or what I imagine to be the result. It was an odd practice though. Sitting in a room in the middle of the night with Pete, and Steve Rubie, the actor/owner of the club who was reading some of the poetry. Performing with earphones on, hearing the audience in New York, and the performance, and seeing the feed of imagery that was being sent from our room, to a large white screen behind the performers in New York. Perhaps the oddest- when the performance is over, and you hear the show continuing in NY, through the speakers, and you can’t talk to anyone about how it went. You go from performance mode to a few guys in a room (and woman–amanda was there for the second show). You are not really sure what you did, or if it worked. We took a bow in front of an audience in New York we could not see. As Matt put it the next day–what does this say about transcontinental communication. There were huge moments of time during the afternoon, where we sat in front of the screen waiting for communication from New York, wondering when someone would come by the computer and notice us. They may have been on break–but noone told us. We had become a window on a computer monitor in Lincoln Center-a part of the digital fabric–somehow less human, easier to forget, or walk away from, in our digitized form–than if they had seen three dudes and a sleeping woman, asking a question repeatedly..”New York, do you hear us? Hello new York? Do you still have the link? hello..? I wish we had not had our hands so full and could have documented our side of the link better, It was an amusing set up. A camera mounted on a laptop, pointing at a wall on which a video projector was relaying pre recorded and manipulated imagery. Into this was placed the live participants at varying depths of field, lit from the chest up by the projection itself, and from the side by a halogen bulb. The video was being manipulated live by keyboard and a mini shuttle controllor on a long extension. This manipulation was being done to the live music feed being recieved from New York. In addition Pete was laying music in live to the concert, including guitar and radio distortion.

For the Lincoln Center showing we had a small audience of Matthew Sharp and his friend Fiona, as well as Amanda who had been helping with the set up throughout the day. Fighting sleep- they observed the three of us performing in silence–passing around a shared headset so that they could hear the relay from NYC. It was interesting how different it felt performing with people in the room, in contrast to the chelsea gallery show in which it was just Pete Steve and me.

The Chelsea show was good for us, but tech glitch kept the video from reaching final destination on stage. In the end, on that night I performed for an audience of one, Nora who was working the computer on stage in NY. At least I had an audience of one. She said she enjoyed it immensely.

We immediately turned back to Saccades the next day. Pete started sketching more music yesterday. I was happy to hear that a visual I had described to him for the piece broke his “block” on the music. It was the first time I have been told of having this effect. Petes music has often done the same for me–where I hear the song and the creativity flows after a dry spell. I had never described a staging with video and had a composer say that that spurred on the writing. I think it is a great result of the time we have been spending working together.

Directly related, I am getting strong imagery and staging ideas for this piece, which both Pete and Matt seem to be responding to. It will entail a lot of experimentation around associating weight and Physicality with the projection. In this a way a natural and very authentic interaction can occur between the performer and the media. I am also looking at how this interaction can link intrinsically to the script. We will be working more on this this week.

I took a visit this week to Sue Davies studio where composer Matteo Fargion (spelling?) was working with the dancers. As I had been working with relation to score with pete, I wanted to see the exercises he was conducting with the dancers. It was very interesting. I will visit them again this week when they go to Laban to work with video.

Mostly spent this weekend being domestic and thinking. Lots of big questions brought up by our trip to Netherlands last week. Still working on absorbing it all. This whole experience is most definitely a turning point, and the Netherlands experience in particular an acute turning point, although one which is still sinking in. Simon Dove’s Springdance festival was an intense experience. We saw numerous shows each day and then engaged in discussion on each one. The shows were provocative and challenging. Some worked and some did not. There were gems and secrets in many, often times hidden in work which were very difficult and at times unpleasant-but all the same the experience changed me as an artist without a doubt, and what more can you ask for from that type of experience. I will be writing more about it in the coming days. We also took a trip to PARTS, the dance school in Brussels, and saw many showcases in Amsterdam. We were introduced to a very interesting production house in the hague, Korzo. It is amazing how much the Dutch support their arts. You can feel very strongly the different place that arts and culture hold in that culture. The government was so proud of their artists.

Saw fantastic piece in a movie house, Horace Benedict, by Boris Charmatz.