Em to Over
Multimedia Performance Art
Role: Art Direction, Coding, Audio & Video
Production and Teaching
Duration: 5 Months (2015)
Team: 13 Students (MFA) from HS-OWL
The amount of technology that surrounds is overwhelming at times. We often cannot grasp, the intensity of the present, in context of everything that has come before it and is connected to it. Similarly, we can see the grip of technology, when we widen our viewing scale, and see it within a wider time gap. The performance, dealt with how from powering our lives, technology, is starting to ‘overpower’ us. The waking of this phenomena, in light of futurism, and its growth, to its present elusive form, was woven into a narrative, to design the performance. The performance was a final outcome of the workshop that I took at HS-OWL, Detmold in 2015.
I was invited by Frank Nickerl, the professor of HS-OWL Detmold, to conduct a workshop and direct a multimedia performance art for the Detmold Art Night. We began researching the history of performance art and eventually lead to Futurism (Italian avant-garde art movement of the 20th century).
“ I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”
The concept that formed during the research was to express how the inventions during 19th and 20th century have turned technology from empowering to overpowering, how we have ended up becoming slaves of technology. And also bringing out a message; how futurism, what Filippo Tommaso Marinetti described in the 20th century is not the key to a secure future for our century.
Listing out the main inventions made during the 19th and 20th century; locomotives, rifle, the automobile, the steam engine. Finding open source videos related to those inventions.
The storyboarding of the whole show was developed on the basis of the time, video triggering and performer’s movements. Three wooden boxes and wall of the venue were used as a projection surface.
Along with the projections and sounds, three female performers were choreographed and their movement was inspired by the videos being played on the surfaces.
Video, Audio: Surface:
1) Video 1: Surface 1
2) Video 2: Surface 2
All the performers facing the door on the left, start to move towards their respective boxes and then stand behind the boxes. There movement is inspired from the movement of the train.
Once all the performers have reached behind their respective boxes, the video 2 is triggered. The performer 2 starts her movement inspired by guns and rifles.
3) Video 3: Surface 3
The video of the city is played on the surface 3 after, the video 2 have been played fro around 30 seconds. The performer 3, starts to enact the movement inspired by the city objects.
4) Video 4: Surface 4
The video of the Steam engine is played live with some effects on top of the actual video to make the picture of machine and technology ruling us grand. The performers keep doing their movements inspired by the machines.
5) Audio Loop 1. -
Around 30 seconds after the video 4 is played, an audio loop is played, when the performers start to hit the boxes and tries to catch the attention of the audience, signifying how humans are in a critical situation.
6) - -
Black out for 20-30 seconds.
7) Audio Loop 2, Surface 1
The video of forest burning is played supplemented by an audio loop, adding on to the dark, negative feeling of the performance. Also, the video is played live with some glitch effects and slow-motion effect.
There were two audio loops that were composed for the performance:
Audio loop 1 is a kick with added reverb, being played at successive one bar difference which eventually turns down to
0.1/0.2 bar and the sound loop intensifies the performance. Audio loop 1 is played before the blackout.
Audio loop 2 is a chord progression with extra effects added to make it sound more mechanical and robotic. Vocodex is used to make it sound more robotic along with some reverb. During the performance, it is played at a slower speed.
The chord selection for the Audio loop 2 is A#m, Fm, A3m, Cm, F#m, C#, F#m, G#.
Behind the scenes: