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ARTISTS' STATEMENTS Fig. 1. AlienNation Co., Lovers Fragments, dance-theater film work, 1995. Shown here are Hilary Cooperman, Mariko Ventura, Margaret Werry andJohn Cook (on mm projected on screen behind dancers). This work, created by Johannes Birringer in collaboration with composer Andre Marguetti and an international ensemble of performers, premiered at Northwestern University's Barber Theatre. (Photo: © Mary Hanlon) TheArtists' Statements section ofLeonardo is intendedto bea rapidpublicationforum. Texts can beup to 750 words in lengthwith no illustrations, orup to500 words in length with oneblack-and-white illustration. Artists' Statements areacceptedfor publication upon recommendation of anyone memberof theLeonardo EditorialBoard, who will thenforward themto theMain Editorial Office with his orherendorsement. liVELyBODIES, LIvE MACHINES: SPLIT REALITIES Johannes Birringer, DDA Studio, 518 Hawthorne #2, Houston, TX 77006, U.S.A. E-Mail:. Acceptedfor publication by RogerF. Malina. In recent years, artists in the dance and performance art communities have been forced (or have wanted) to respond to the increasing presence of electronic technologies, such as those used for imaging and recording, in the cultural and exhibition contexts in which we work. In 1994, I participated in a workshop at the School for New Dance Development in Amsterdam that examined a new movement toward holistic mind/ body philosophies in dance practice. This long workshop brought together more than 100 participants from different countries. There was considerable investment from people using creative, spiritual and existential approaches to movement and bodily experience that depart from the technique-based rigors ofballet and modern dance training and that appear to be antagonistic to the technological imperatives imposed by media culture and hypertheories of cyberspace and virtual reality. Such theories can seem especially alienating and distorting from the point ofview of dancers, who need to work with and rely on intimate knowledge of the body. My own role in the workshop was a paradoxical one since I work with both dance and technology. I am a choreographer and video/filmmaker (with AlienNation Co., my Chicago-based international performance ensemble) and am strongly interested in developing integrated movement research linking physical expression and movement choreography with images and sound in electronic interfaces. Working with Imma Sarries-Zgonc and video artistJoelJohnson, I decided to test the extension of dance and physical movement work into digital and interactive spaces. In 1996 we created a new workshop paradigm, Lively Bodies, Live Machines, first presented at the Split Screen Festival in Chichester, England, and subsequently produced in Dresden, Germany. This workshop was designed as an intensive exploration of e 19981SAST LEONARDO, Vol. 31, No.2 pp. 141-144, 1998 141 the relationship of computer programming and new multimedia software to the physical body. All of our work is movement-based, yet we incorporate camera, video projection, digital sound processing, motion capture, sensor and MIDI (musical instrument digital interface ) devices in our choreography and spatial designs, working toward a redefinition of performance. Our intention is to influence technological design and the understanding of corporeal presence in interactive territory, shifting the emphasis from machine applications to narrative content through full, bodyconscious interfaces and contemporary prostheses. Since its formation, AlienNation Co. has worked as a laboratory for cross-cultural , integrated arts research and has evolved organically out of several collaborative performance projects. Over the past 3 years, AlienNation Co. has been exploring the connections between live performance and cinematic/ video space-time, inventing new processes of composition that combine dance-theater choreography with video choreography, acoustic and electronic music, poetry and the visual arts. Experimenting with both site-specific and cross-cultural performance materials, the company has been particularly concerned with physical and emotional bodily experience and with the ideology ofvisual objects and images. Our experimental work, which includes theater and dance pieces, installations and film concerts, evolves along with our video/film production, documentation and writing. The work is committed to addressing issues of our time and our various, overlapping cultural experiences . As collaborative work with artists in other locations, it contributes to the crossing of borders and the exchange of creative dialogues in the world. Formed in 1993, AlienNation Co. currently has three productions in its repertoire. After the premiere and international touring of AlienNation (1993-1994), the second production, Lovers Fragments (Fig. 1), was created...


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