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Real-time composer-performer collaboration as explored in Wilderness, a dance and audio installation

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From fall 2010 to spring 2011, the author was the pianist in twenty public performances of Wilderness, a site-adaptable dance and audio installation by choreographer Yanira Castro and composer Stephan

From fall 2010 to spring 2011, the author was the pianist in twenty public performances of Wilderness, a site-adaptable dance and audio installation by choreographer Yanira Castro and composer Stephan Moore. Wilderness's music was generated as the result of an algorithmic treatment of data collected from the movements of both dancers and audience members within the performance space. The immediacy of using movement to instantaneously generate sounds resulted in the need for a real-time notational environment inhabited by a sight-reading musician. Wilderness provided the author the opportunity to extensively explore an extreme sight-reading environment, as well as the experience of playing guided improvisations over existing materials while incorporating lateral thinking strategies, resulting from a real-time collaboration between composer and performer during the course of a live performance. This paper describes Wilderness in detail with particular attention focused on aspects of the work that most directly affect the pianist: the work's real-time notational system, live interaction between composer and performer, and the freedoms and limitations of guided improvisation. There is a significant amount of multi-media documentation of Wilderness available online, and the reader is directed toward this online content in the paper's appendix.

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  • 2012

Image schemata and transmedia improvisation

Description

I am interested in performance that includes multiple artistic media. I am looking for a way to communicate with other artists that can clearly express the meaning of an artistic

I am interested in performance that includes multiple artistic media. I am looking for a way to communicate with other artists that can clearly express the meaning of an artistic gesture that they can interpret for their medium. I wish to make transmedia performance art with a meaning that is clear to an audience. That meaning can be abstract. Sometimes we call art "abstract" to imply that it has no perceivable meaning. However, everything has meaning. Even if a piece of art does not have narrative meaning, we can still perceive a structure. That is thanks to our imagination. Imagination is our way of making sense of our experience. I believe that if I can identify some of the imaginative structures through which I perceive and understand my own work, I can use those structures to annotate or organize scores for improvised performance pieces. I am interested in how we understand art. One theory of understanding, which comes from Mark Johnson, involves "image schemata." Image schemata (sing. schema) are basic, abstract structures that we develop based on what we perceive from our physical interactions with the environment. We project these structures that come from a physical domain onto the mental domain. Johnson calls this process "metaphorical projection," and he calls our ability to do this "imagination." By metaphorically projecting image schemata from one domain to another, we form meaning of our experiences, and thus contribute to our understanding of the world. I believe that I can use image schemata to explain the meanings inherent in the art I make and to explain the connections in meaning between one artistic medium to another. I wish to apply this in a transmedia performance setting. First, I will analyze previous transmedia works in terms of image schemata. Second, I will make a score using image schemata for an improvised performance. Third, I will reflect on the results of attempting to rehearse that score.

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  • 2014