La morsure (1998-2003)

interactive choreography for CD-Rom

Direction, choreography & conception : Andrea Davidson
Interactive programme : Andrea Davidson, Douglas Edric Stanley & Olivier Koechlin
Generative programme : Andrea Davidson & Olivier Koechlin
Scenario : Andrea Davidson & Douglas Edric Stanley adapted from the poem
Le bûcher où brûle une by Julio Cortazar
Dancers : Toni d'Amelio & Fabrizio Chiodetti
Music : Dominique Besson
Interactive sound programme : Dominique Besson & Olivier Koechlin
Musician : Vascen Solakian (saz, kamentchi, guitar)
Scenography : Andrea Davidson & Leslie Garcias
Production director : Louis Bourgeois
Stylistic design : Colette Stanley
Graphics assistant : Denis Juge

interface 1

interface 2

interface 3

Combining dance, video, poetry and new technology, La morsure was inspired by
Julio Cortazar's poem Le bûcher où brûle une and its themes of desire and betrayal.
Establishing a dialogue between the computer and the spectator in which the virtual
aspect of creative processes can be shared, the work proposes a new dance aesthetic.
Participating in the elaboration of a choreography from a bank of over 400 virtual video
images, spectators experience a new, more sensorial choreographic narrative.

The project first considers the body as a place, event and intensity, taking the most
minimal emotional impulses and internal rhythms that shape all gesture as vocabulary.
Secondly, in the absence of a cursor or buttons on screen to guide the work's navigation,
the interactive programme highlights touch as its main interface. Although the dance
movements stem from recorded video sequences, their fragmentary nature and the way
they are interactively and algorithmically manipulated, suggests that the real choreographic
event is taking place as a result of spectators' actively piecing together the work through
gestures with the mouse that animate and control the dancer's movements, directions and
speed, creating a more visceral approach to looking at dance. Like the blind person, the
spectator must touch in order to see.

The project also develops sound interactively and spatially. Just asinteraction produces images,
so too, the same gestures unfold a real-time interactive musical score, enlivening the viewing of the work.

Another feature is the use of a narrative generator to group choreographic material and sound elements
within an open, modular structure. Each choreographic phrase is considered as a separate grammatical
unit that can be rearranged by the generator in a semi-random fashion, allowing for a continually variable
juxtaposition and recontextualization of the choreography's phrases and rhythms without a loss of meaning.
Moving away from a fixed, predetermined, linear point of view, this new way of organising choreography
offers multiple perspectives onto the work while producing a unique version of the choreography with each viewing.

History (1998-2003)
A maquette, entitled Le bûcher où brûle une, was presented in 1996 at the Biennale Artifices 4, Langages en perspective, Saint Denis, France; at Synthèse 97, Le 27éme Festival international des musiques & créations électroniques, Bourges; and at Bandits-Mages 97, Les 5èmes Rencontres internationales des arts audiovisuels et multimédia, Bourges. A later version under the name La morsure was first shown in 1998 at MILIA, Cannes and at the exhibit L’image n’est pas seule, at l'Université Paris 8. In 1999, La morsure was presented at the Bolzano Dance Festval, Italy; at the Plateaux de la Biennale nationale de Danse du Val de Marne, Créteil; in the multimedia series of Anamos, Face au Présent, at the Webbar, Paris; at the Festival international des arts et des technologies actuelles, Université de Rennes 2; in an evening entitled Danse/Image/Numerical Technology at L'Échangeur, Bagnolet; at the exhibit of the 3èmes États Généraux de l'Écriture Interactive, Art 3000, Paris; at the DESS Multimedia programme of the Université Paris-Sorbonne IV; at the conference Paroles à, Université Paris 8, Saint-Denis; and at the evening Interactivité(s) at the Webbar, Paris. In 2000, the project was presented at l'École de l'Image des Gobelins, Paris; l'École des Beaux Arts de Metz ; l'Université de Nancy, Saint-Dié; in the series Apéro-Vidéo of Les Yeux de Louis in Épinal and Saint-Dié; the Internationale Tanzmesse NRW, Essen; Les Rencontres internationales de Lure; l'Université d'Automne de l'Université de Rennes 2; the Festival Internazionale di Videodanza: Il Coreografo Elettronico, Naples; the Festival Internacional de Video-danza, Alliance Française, Buenos Aires; and the conference Bibliothèque Nationale de France.

In 2001, the CD-ROM was shown at Les Pépinières de la jeune création européenne, Lyon ; at the Cycle des Jeudis de la Sorbonne, Paris; in the festival Virtualité & réalité dans la création, Compiègne; in the exhibition Chemins du Numérique, Reims; at the opening of Le Cube, Issy-les-Moulineaux; at the Colloque DRAC, L'Echangeur, Bagnolet; in the festival Savante Banlieue, la Recherche en fête, Université Paris XIII; and in the conference Body Mind as part of the Moving Pictures Festival, Toronto. In 2004, the CD-Rom was shown in conferences organized by the Theatre department of Waseda University, Tokyo and at Tama Arts University, Japan.

Prizes and Collections
In 1998, the CD-ROM La morsure received the Prix de l'Écriture Multimédia de la Fondation Beaumarchais from the SACD (Société des Compositeurs et des Auteurs Dramatiques) and in November 2000, the Prix du Jury from the Festival Internazionale di Videodanza: Il Coreografo Elettronico, Naples. In 2002, the project received the Grand Prix de la Vidéodanse- section New Media, from UNESCO, Paris. The work also figures in the collections of Le Cube, Issy-les-Moulineaux; Espace Culture Multimédia, St-Brieuc and the Centre Culturel Saint-Exupéry, Reims.

The Canada Council, Le Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, Le Ministère de la Culture (Direction de la Musique et de la Danse), the Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris, Le Laboratoire Esthétique d'Interactivité de l'Université Paris 8, SACD (Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques), La Fondation Beaumarchais, Centro Petralata, Rome, Le Centre National de la Danse, Paris, Anomos France and Hyptique, Paris.