|home | features | exhibitions | interviews | profiles | webprojects | gazetteer | links | archive | forum|
Dominick Allen responds to the Fascinate Showcase - part of the Fascinate Conference held at UCF, August 28th-30th 2013. Photos by Jono Whitehead.
Unlike the slightly more famous 'Mechanical
Turk' constructed by Wolfgan Von Kempelen, Jacques
The Fascinate showcase (28 August, The
Performance Centre, UCF) aimed to present a selection of projects
Ollie williams' 'Tangible Sequencer' (left) seemed to typify the event. Blue Lights flashing away, a projector displaying changing constantly shifting geometric shapes , and ambient sounds. Three lazer-cut wooden boxes contained the blue lights and a total of 12 recesses into which the audience were invited to place wooden cubes each face of which had a simple geometric pattern (reminiscent of the Sony Playstation branding) lazer-cut into it. This was our 'Tangible Sequencer'. The Cubes where moved about, the geometric shapes on the projection moved about, ambient sounds floated about. Presumably there was some correlation between the alignment of the wooden cubes and the audio/video, but like much work of this kind we will never know given the 139968 ([6 to the power of 6] x 3) possible combinations of the 12 cubes.
My other criticism, of this work and of the
whole event, is simply that I have seen it and variations upon it
'Scattered Light' was a 'realtime audiovisual
performances' in which the artists attempted to explore “the
possibilities of music as an ecosystem”. In a large theatre space on an
empty stage bookmarked by the gentle and ubiquitous glow of laptop
screens, a large projection of constantly mutating CGI cuboid shapes is
accompanied by the type of self-consciously “Intelligent Dance Music”
that I remember John Peel
Similarly Sara de Santis and Emanuel Andel's performance 'Transmission of Body-Time into Computer-Time' used a dancer along with impressive sounding technologies- projection mapping, “3d tracking and motion analysis”- to combine a digital environment and reality, but unlike the audience for Vaucansen's duck we have seen this technology before and this performance seemed to be about very little else. A local sculptor was very impressed by the attractive dancer and the flashing lights. Several other pieces involved attractive dancers (of both sexes) and flashing lights- two universally popular subjects. However some uncomfortable moments throughout the whole event demonstrated a clumsy approach to issues surrounding gender stereotyping.
It was Jestern's brain-controlled performance
that initially made me think of the mechanical Duck
The most interesting aspect of this
performance was the suspicion that this could be an elaborate hoax,
However the installation most closely relating to our duck was a Buckminster Fuller-inspired shape onto which multiple videos from you tube where projected. To me this piece proclaimed “The Future... Today!” which is hard to avoid with white geometric shapes. It also proclaimed “The Internet, it's vast and often banal”. I spent some time with this piece, and talking to the artist, and it transpired that the videos were not being streamed directly form you tube, but randomly picked from a library of video clips that had been previously selected and downloaded from the internet. In one sense this changes the work's second message into something more personal maybe “Here are my favourite clips of Russian telly and toothpaste adverts”. Conversely I'm not sure that this really matters so much and am reminded about stage magic. We know the magic is fake but we want to believe in it, and yet I'm always desperate to discover how the trick is performed. It might be the ability to pick up two cards and make it look like one, or it might be a bit of string or a hidden pocket. However the moment we find out, the magic is lost.
The processes in
Benjamin Cerigo's 'Rebound Drum' were very clearly visible. You hit an