Telepresence Technology in Modern Dance

The Berkeley Dance Project has an exciting performance playing at the Playhouse call Stream. It combines contemporary dance, exciting explorations with new performance technology, and forward thinking conscientious topics such as the politics of water and miscommunication with new social technology. My favorite piece of this three part act was The Somnambulist’s Dream, which explores the integration of media content in relationship to the body in motion by utilizing real time feeds. In other words, recording of the real time dance was being projected into the performance itself in different scales creating unbelievably beautiful surreal effects.

Unfortunately cameras aren't allowed at the Playhouse, but I was so in love with the creative use of these mediums for dance that I stopped by a Dance & Technology Open Classroom the following Monday, being held by the director of the piece, to learn more and get to play around with a Max MSP interface that allows for telepresence and co-located performance. I was able to get some pictures of that, and I've been thinking about making arrangements with the director to see if I can get some shots of Stream's rehearsals. I bet they would come out stunning.

To give you a brief introduction, the use of this technology involves recording cameras, projectors, and a Max Msp interface designed for telepresence and manipulation of it. In simpler terms, you can have people in two different locations performing and this technology makes the combining of the performances possible by having this program in multiple computers connected to recording and projecting devices. The program also allows for the manipulation of scale, tone, hue, mixing of projections etc. Isn't it cool!

Well, here I leave you with a few pictures I was able to take of the people who showed-up for the open classroom, experimenting with this new fun toy.

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