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Ouija

In 2007, based on a series of conversation with Sha Xin Wei about movement, agency, entrainment, and responsivity, Michael Montanaro (Chair of Contemporary Dance), created a set of structured improvisation exercises for dancers working in responsive media environment in the Hexagram Blackbox.

Assistant choreographer Soo-yeon Cho, 7 dancers, and realtime media creators from the Topological Media Lab, and collaborating researchers held a series of experiments in structured improvisation exploring the emergence of collective intention in a field of movement. The field of movement includes un-prepared everyday “un-conscious” movement, pre-conditioned but un-rehearsed movement, as well as fully phrased movement. The experiments included dancers and non-dancers, sometimes identified as such, sometimes not. Themes included entrainment, camouflage, calligraphy and exchanging initiative and momentum between dancers and media.

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TECHNIQUE [SOFTWARE]

All these experimental events lived in a set of responsive substrate media supplied with calligraphic video and gestural sound software instruments, the Oxygen media choreography software system, WYSIWYG’s sounding tapestries, and some proto-jewelry. The realtime media instruments were implemented in Max/MSP/Jitter, with substantial extensions in C.

PEOPLE

Soo-yeon Cho, Choreographer
Prof. Sha Xin Wei, Director

Dancers

Mike Croitoru
Kiani del Valle
Veronique Gaudreau
Rebecca Halls
Marie Laurier
Joannie Pharand
 Olivia Foulke
Oxygen
Jean-Sebastien Rousseau, Calligraphic video, videography, visual effects, production
Tim Sutton, Gestural sound design and programming, production
Emmannuel Thivierge, State engine, camera tracking, production
Filip Radonjik, Live ink painting
WYSIWYG
Marguerite Bromley (XS Labs), Tapestry design and weaving
Elliot Sinyor (IDMIL McGill), Tapestry mechatronics
David Gauthier, Tapestry mechatronics
Freida Abtan, Sound design & programming
David Birnbaum (IDMIL McGill), Sound design & programming
Doug van Nort (IDMIL McGill), Gestural motion feature analysis
Josee-Anne Drolet, TML Project Coordinator, production, videography, editing
Harry Smoak, TML Research Coordinator, production support, research advisor
Ma Zhiming, Production

SUPPORT

Special thanks to Faculty Colleagues
Prof. Michael Montanaro, Contemporary Dance, Ouija movement experiment design
Prof. Marcelo Wanderley, IDMIL, McGill University, WYSIWYG gestural control of sound synthesis
Prof. Joey Berzowksa, XS Labs, Interactive textiles

Thanks also to affiliates of the TML and the SenseLab for artistic and research support: Michael Fortin, Elena Frantova, Olfa Driss, Rene Sills, Raul Gomez, Paul Melançon, Antoine Blanchet,Younjeong Choi, and Shermine Sawalha.