Seekers: A Bicoastal/Mediated Performance

May 6, 2011   //   by van Gelder   //   Blog, Events  //  Comments Off on Seekers: A Bicoastal/Mediated Performance

Photo by A. Hasler for Boston Cyberarts


On Saturday, April 30th Boston Cyberarts Central hosted “Seekers: A Mediated Performance” in the atrium at Atlantic Wharf. Directed by Alissa Cardone and Alla Kovgan, the performance featured both live dancers and recorded video of dancers in a studio in Los Angeles. Each of the eight dancers improvised his or her dance as a “persona”, which each dancer created based on responses to the questions used at popular dating websites in the creation an online profile. The improvisational score that resulted explored the separation between online and real-world personas, and seeks to answer Kovgan’s question, “Can you actually create the essence of a person from these profiles online?”

For the performance, four dancers (Alissa Cardone, Olivier Besson, Zack Fuller, and Asimina Chremos) appeared on four separate dance floors set up side-by-side. Above each dance floor a flat-screen monitor showed a video of another dancer, who improvised his or her contribution in a studio in Los Angeles. The final improvised performance for the Cyberarts Festival relied heavily on interaction with both the other dancers present in the atrium and the recorded dances. In a question and answer session that followed, the director and the dancers shared the method they employed to create the final performance. Notably, the dancers played an integral role in the creative process, as each responded to the questions from the online dating sites with images and musical suggestions for the playlist that accompanied the performance.

Originally the organizers had intended to show a live feed of the Los Angeles-based dancers’ performance, but opted to use pre-recorded video because the technology necessary for a live feed remains either prohibitively expensive or provides a video of insufficient quality. Additionally, the dancers and director noted that the performance would have had a remarkably different tone if the video of the dancers in Los Angeles appeared on larger screens than the monitors available in the atrium. Ultimately, it seems that while technology has had a major influence on the imagination of those who plan and create performance art (especially as it regards spanning long distances, as in the case of “Seekers”), the realities of the use of technology in performance remain elusive to those artists and directors.

For more on Boston Cyberarts, visit their festival website.

Written for the 2011 Boston Cyberarts Festival. For more from Adam Hasler, visit adamhasler.com.

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