Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Rondo Project Begins!

Rondo Project:

Working with acclaimed California sculptor Bruce Beasley, dance and technology artists Lisa Wymore, Sheldon Smith, and Ian Heisters will collaborate on a new performative work that experiments with animating Beasley’s Rondo sculpture project. Ursula Kwong-Brown is composing a new sound 
score for the project. This collaboration is sponsored by the department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies and the Art Research Center at UC Berkeley. The impetus for the project is to activate Beasley’s iconic and majestic large scale intertwining ring sculptures through 3D animation and human motion tracking technology. The projected sculptural forms will dance and articulate themselves - passing through each other virtually in ways that could not be achieved in the real world. The rings will be driven by human behavior, gesture, and movement. The images will then be projected onto a large wall in the Playhouse Theater creating a spectacle of large and weightless sculptural forms being manipulated by human-scale performers controlling the actions of the rings.

Can we sense human feelings through the vocabulary of geometry? What power dynamics exist between live bodies in the performance space and huge projections of metal-like objects in the virtual space? Will we sense the weight and power of the projected images? Will the performers seem beyond human strength as they activate the projections with their bodies? Will the “bodies” of the rings become one with the bodies of the dancers?

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Fine Tuning the System

Ian Heisters and Rama Gottfried Discussing design strategies for dealing with camera drivers in context with Max MSP. We are looking forward to more formal demonstrations of the platform in January- allowing multiple users to engage with 2D and 3D cameras, stage lights, and the sound system in synchronization. We will be working on experiments related to spatialization of sound and movement utilizing point cloud analysis within a dance/performance context. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Camera Mounted to Lighting Grid - Testing Begins

We were able to get our first camera hung on the lighting grid this past Friday. Preliminary tests took place regarding feasibility of the camera placement. So far the placement looks great and we were able to start projecting onto the floor. Our next session will include wall projections and connecting data to various sound sources. 

We were visited in the lab by two graduate students: Megan Hoetger from Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies, and Meg Alvarado-­Saggese from the Rhetoric Department. Both are interested in learning more about the Z-Lab and the new Digital Intermedia Collaborative Platform that we are building.

Friday, September 11, 2015

We are making progress!

Last Friday we had a great day working in the Z-Lab! Rama Gottfried is creating an incredibly elegant interface with the Kinect cameras using point-cloud data and we were able to test out what he has been working on over the summer. Pictured below are Adrian Freed, Rama Gottfried, Ursula Kwong-Brown, John MacCallum, Jules Espiau, and Lisa Wymore networking computers to engage with the data streaming from Rama's computer. Our next steps are to hang various Kinect cameras and depth sensing cameras on the grid infrastructure that has been installed in the Z-Lab. We will then continue optimizing the hardware and software as we start to build a user friendly set of tools for making spatially aware sound and movement creative projects and instruments. We look forward to seeing how stage light impacts the system.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Digital Humanities Intermedia Collaborative Platform is Launched in Z-170

The Z-Lab has been awarded a Digital Humanities Grant to begin work on a new initiative called the Digital Intermedia Collaborative Platform - DICP.

This project is a collaboration with the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies CNMAT. Adrian Freed and Lisa Wymore are working together with a small team of creative engineers and artists to make a space that is "plug and play," allowing artists and teachers interested in working with sensors and sensor-based cameras to engage with the space easily and consistency. We are hoping to create an enlivened space for teaching and performance that utilizes commercial components all configured in a way that allows for flexibility but also has a deep layer of stability and consistency.

We will be publishing our findings in an open source document. Our hope is that other laboratories like the Z-Lab will create spaces with similar configurations so that we can collaborate and create a network of spaces for those interested in computer augmented performances and experiments. More soon....

International Metabody Symposium a Big Success!

On May 7-9, 2015 the Z-Lab hosted an international symposium entitled:

Reversing Cybernetics - Queering Control: Media, 

Embodiment and the Politics of Indeterminancy
The symposium is part of the International Metabody Forum 2015. 
METABODY is a 5-year project starting July 2013, with the support of the European Commission and the participation of 38 partners from 16 countries, coordinated by Reverso.

The symposium allowed various artists, scholars, engineers, and performers to come together in a variety of ways. We shared workshops, a panel discussion, and performances. Neil Marcus and friends shared a moving performance on Saturday morning, which had many of us re-considering and re-naming "dis"ability within technologically rich performance. Rama Gottfried, Teoma Narcatto and John MacCallum, Smith/Wymore Disappearing Acts with Ian Heisters, Sheldon Smith and Lisa Wymore, Jaime del Val, and Robert Wechsler all shared excerpts from their recent creative inquiries and explorations.

Photos and videos will be posted soon to the media page.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Z-Lab Gearing Up

The semester here at UC Berkeley is starting up again. I am looking forward to working in the Z-Lab on a new project for the Berkeley Dance Project 2013 Berkeley Dance Project 2013. I will be working with Azin Seraj who will be creating video design for the new work. We started working on the project this past fall term with a group of amazing students from Theater 84: Sophomore Seminar called Perform the Score. This class was part of the campus project called On the Same Page: Fiat Lux On the Same Page: Perform the Score

Here is a little bit about Azin Seraj:

Bio: An Iranian native, Canadian citizen, and American resident, new media artist Azin Seraj explores and navigates the uses of technology as a powerful tool for relating across borders, mapping transnational identity, capturing beauty in the mundane, and exploring self-reflection. Seraj received her BFA with Honors Distinction from University of Victoria, Canada, and an MFA from University of California, Berkeley. 

I will keep you posted about this project as it unfolds in the coming months. The premise of the project is to re-animate the campus photographs that Ansel Adams took while creating the book Fiat Lux: The University of California, Ansel Adams and Nancy Newhall, 1967. We are focusing on the Eucalyptus Grove on the Berkeley campus, working with Anna Halprin's process called the R.S.V.P Cycles.