on memory, time and space (2009)
A telematic mobile 2-way interactive performance
Concept, creation & direction: Andrea Davidson and Jem Kelly
Dancers: Nanette Kincaid, Tamar Daly, Chris Jannides
Musical composition & interpretation: Jem Kelly
Technical consultant: Neil Bryant
Première: Festival H2PTM : Retrospective et Perspective
1989-2009 Hypertexte et Hypermédia, Produits, Outils
et Méthodes, Université Paris 8 and University of Chichester
Current debates on telepresence and telematic performance raise questions of immediacy, presence and virtual representation and challenging common perceptions of time and memory. In non media-driven or matrixed performance, immediacy and presence are registered and understood simultaneously as/through a work's semiotic sytems and its physical excution by performers. In technology-driven performance, the mediated body is presented as a re-presentation of the physical body although digital interfaces can blur or deviate the time between the transmission and reception of elements within a semiotic system.
Inter_views takes this time-lag as the basis for exploring a new narrative form in performance. Here, an interaction between past and present actions is established wherein physical and virtual images play on the audience's perception and recollection of actions that are currently taking place, those that have already taken place, and those that predict or point to future memory. Following Bergson's idea of durée as two forms of memory: "recollection memory" oriented towards the past, and "contraction memory" oriented towards the future, Inter_views presents a telematic, interactive performance that tests Bergson's notions of memory and their link to the perception of time and space.
The work connects remotely-located spaces via a real-time Skype audio link and a delayed QuickTime Broadcast video link. Spectators in one site are invited to speak a series of simple instructions displayed on a monitor before them into a microphone. The phrases adopt a form of second-person singular address such as, 'You go to the window, you touch your hair, you think about your day', etc. The messages are transmitted to dancers in the second location who respond to the phrases as instructions, developing a dance narrative around what they hear.
A set of seemingly banal instructions gives rise to a rich visual environment that presents a palimpsest of moments of the choreography as a form of re-embodied memory. Simultaneously reactive and interpretative, the live performance unfolds within a traditional stage space. However, the work's visual device also opens up multiple and residual spatial and temporal planes onto the narrative. Though the audio transmission is instantaneous, a 15-second delay in the live video transmission and video feedback create an alternate composition and viewing of the stage action and it is in this space that Inter_views seeks to challenge the common notion that perception is immediate. The interaction maps out a memory space in which both the dancers and the spectator-instructors find a collaborative intentionality: one that is structured through an intersection of temporal immediacy and delay.
Project funded by the Dancer Research Capability Fund at the University of Chichester, UK