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Program P01-P02: Choreographing Digital Canvas with Paul Kaiser and Marc Downie (USA)

KINODANCE-2009 is hosting a residency for two digital artists Paul Kaiser and Marc Downie (USA), members of the OpenEnded Group. During the residency at the KINODANCE Festival 2009, the artists will offer:

I. April 7-21, 2009 with the opening on April 7, Tuesday, 16:00, Exhibition Hall “Poterna” – the Peter and Paul Fortress.

“Point A–>B” – inspired by parkour – “the urban sport in which the goal is to get from point A to point B as rapidly, as inventively, and often as dangerously as possible. Rather than negotiating real spaces, here our virtual traceurs encounter a vertiginous world where action, perception, and location are continually overturned. This sensation is heightened for the viewer by the two parallel projections of the piece, which only rarely coalesce into a continuous panorama — more often they divide the space like a chasm.”

II. Wednesday, April 8, 2009, 19:00 – a workshop/master class, iCLub, Apple Cafe

The master class is for artists who would like to work with programmers, for artists who can code, open source advocates & programmers (who know Java and Python -- and perhaps Scala), scientists; interface designers interested in collaborations with artists.

III. Tuesday, April 14, 2009, 18:30 – a screening/discussion at Proarte,

During the presentation the artists will give an overview of the whole body of their work and discuss their philosophy, approaches to the artistic practice and technology enabling them to realize their visions. The talk features BIPED, the artists’ collaboration with Merce Cunningham, and Ghostcatching, the artists’ collaboration with Bill T. Jones as well as their collaborations with Trisha Brown among others.

Artists Biographies:

Paul Kaiser is a digital artist and writer. He earned his bachelor’s degree in film and art history from Wesleyan University (1978; summa cum laude), and his M.Ed. in special education from American University.

Kaiser’s early art (1975-81) was in experimental filmmaking and writing for recorded voice. He then spent ten years teaching students with severe learning disabilities, with whom he collaborated on making multimedia depictions of their own minds. From this work, he derived two key ideas - mental space and drawing as performance - which became the points of departure for the solo and collaborative digital artworks he has been making since the mid-90s.

Kaiser has been a prolific collaborator – in addition to extensive collaborations with his key colleagues Shelley Eshkar and Marc Downie, he has worked with Robert Wilson, Merce Cunningham, Bill T. Jones, and Trisha Brown. These works span a wide range of forms and disciplines, including dance, music, installation, and public art.

Kaiser has taught at Wesleyan, Harvard, Columbia, and San Francisco State, with artist’s residencies at Le Fresnoy - Studio National (France), Cooper Union, UC-Irvine, Harvard, Ohio State University, The Exploratorium, and Arizona State University. He has written and lectured extensively about digital art, filmmaking, dance, and education.

Kaiser was recently given the John Cage Award by the Foundation for Contemporary Arts (2008). In 1995, he was the first digital artist to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship. He also received a ComputerWorld/Smithsonian Award (1992) for his multimedia work with children. Other honors include a Media Arts Fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation (2006), an Award of Distinction and two Honorable Mentions at Ars Electronica, an Osher Fellowship at the Exploratorium, and prizes from the Congress of Research in Dance and the Bessie Awards.

Marc Downie is an artist and artificial intelligence researcher. Born in Aberdeen, UK, he has an MA in natural science and a MSci in physics from the University of Cambridge, graduating at the head of his class with the Mott Prize in the Natural Sciences. In 2005 he obtained a PhD from MIT’s Media Lab, writing a thesis entitled “Choreographing the Extended Agent.”

Downie’s complex algorithmic systems are inspired by natural systems and a critique of prevalent digital tools and techniques. His interactive installations, compositions, and projections have presented advances in the fields of interactive music, machine learning, and computer graphics.

In addition to extensive collaborations with his key colleagues Paul Kaiser and Shelley Eshkar, Downie has worked with Merce Cunningham, Bill T. Jones, and Trisha Brown. While he was at the MIT Media Lab, he collaborated extensively with colleagues there, playing key roles in projects such as as AlphaWolf (A Prix Ars Electronica honorable mention in 2002), Dobie (SIGGRAPH 2002), and (void *) (SIGGRAPH 2000), and Jeux Deux (2006).

Downie is currently preparing his multimedia authoring system for release as an open source project. Website: http://www.openendedgroup.com/

History of Open Ended Group:

“Kaiser and Eshkar have collaborated on numerous projects since the mid-1990s. Interested from the start in creating a new kind of 3D space that did not aspire to photorealism, we thought instead about drawing. Soon we formulated the notions of drawing as performance and hand-drawn space, which we then applied to motion-captured performance in a series of collaborations with choreographers. Of these, perhaps the best known are BIPED, with Merce Cunningham, and Ghostcatching, with Bill T. Jones.

For our first work of public art, Pedestrian, we reversed direction by taking on the challenge of photographic simulation. In this work, we projected trompe-l’oeil figures and miniature urban landscapes directly onto city sidewalks. Here, as our interests turned from dance toward the everyday movements of pedestrians and of children, we became our own de facto choreographers.

In 2001, Marc Downie joined us to create Loops, the first of our works to run in real-time and to generate itself autonomously by means of artificial intelligence. Previously, Downie had pioneered a new approach to generative music and imagery with a series of artworks entitled Musical Creatures.

We now embraced the idea of thinking images, in which what you see is the artwork thinking as it pictures things to itself. We made a dance work with Trisha Brown entitled “how long” does the subject linger on the edge of the volume… in which our projected imagery made sense of the choreography as it was danced on the stage.

“how long…” seemed to be the culmination of our work in dance, but its underlying ideas led directly to Enlightenment, a work that autonomously reconstructed an extraordinarily complex fugal passage in late Mozart.

So far as we can tell, Enlightenment is the highest-resolution live digital artwork ever created. Our artworks are now all resolution-independent, which lets us take advantage of higher quality display technology as it emerges. For example, we projected the recent work Recovered Light on the facade of the York Minster at a scale of 20x40 feet.

A parallel interest of ours is in paper — with the recent acquisition of a huge new printer, we can render lines to the page that are so fine that we can’t even see them on our screens. Now we’re busy re-inventing many of our imaging methods to work for paper, whose material properties and possibilities are so different from those of electronic displays. Printing to the page has helped deepen our investigation of complex text and diagrams, addressed fully in a public art installation at Lincoln Center entitled Breath as well as in a work-in-progress called Other Bodies .

Meanwhile, our original focus on human movement continues, in a series of related works: Point A –>B and Forest / Playground, which explore children’s movements and worlds. Both these projects make use of our new real-time renderer to give a heightened and even hallucinatory sense of 3D representational space, while creating new forms of choreography that draw upon non-traditional sources as parkour/freerunning and palyground movements.

We are committed to sharing our ideas as well as our technology. In February 2008 we released our Field, our open source authoring system.”

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P01-P02 InstallationFR01FR02Closing: Awards and Encores

© Kinodance–Russia, 2009