Point A→B & CLA

POINT A → B
OpenEnded Group and Urban Flow
2007
Two-screen Installation

… a Capture5 co-commission, an Arts Council England fund managed by Portland Green Cultural Projects, with the Scottish Arts Council and exhibition partners Jerwod Space, London and CCA, Glasgow

CHOREOGRAPHIC LANGUAGE AGENT (CLA)
OpenEnded Group in collaboration with Wayne McGregor|Random Dance
2009
Software environment

… a Portland Green Cultural Projects, co-commission

POINT A → B

Parkour is the new urban sport in which getting from point A to point B as rapidly, as inventively, and often as dangerously as possible is the goal. This work takes parkour as its own point of departure in creating a vertiginous virtual world where action,perception, and location are continually overturned.

Point A → B brings the essential movements, physics, and purposes of parkour into a purely abstract and ever-shifting virtual architecture derived from the traces and passage of the traceurs themselves.

The wake of one runner becomes the barrier for others. The walls, channels, and voids grow and breathe like a living organism – both confining and yielding to the traceurs who traverse it. In this virtual architecture, with physical logic of our own making,the tenets of parkour elaborate themselves in entirely new ways. Point A → B derives its speed and sense of the unexpected from the traceur’s uncanny ability to see all paths all at once, and then to move among myriad alternatives at nearly the speed of thought.

The project was developed with the UK-based parkour group Urban Freeflow. Blue (aka Paul Joseph) was the lead performer
for the piece; NY Parkour traceur, Exo (aka Exousia Pierce), also performed.

The parkour motions were recorded both with 32 optical motion-capture cameras and with 2 high-definition video cameras (one hand-held, the other on a tripod). The hand-held camera was itself motion-captured so that both its camerawork (itself a kind of performance) and its imagery can be placed seamlessly within the virtual world.

The artwork is composed for two screens, set perpendicularly to each other and its imagery generated by a custom-made 3D renderer.

CHOREOGRAPHIC LANGUAGE AGENT (CLA)

The Choreographic Language Agent project is a small software environment for exploring variations in choreographic instruction which was co-commisioned by Portland Green Cultural Projects.

The Choreographic Language Agent enables the creation of grammars that point two ways — towards simple versions of human language and towards choreographic grammars of dance that are particular to a given choreographer (in the initial case, Wayne McGregor|Random Dance). This tool posits a new form of dance notation — one which aids the choreographer in generating dance movements rather than in recording existing movements.

The core of the idea is that you can start creating choreography by writing sentences in a formal language (in this case, inspired by a reading of words that Wayne MacGregor has used to choreograph a dance). The agent then automatically translates that sentence into animation — specifically, it animates the points constituting the dancer’s body, the points corresponding to the room space, and the points of the dancer’s kinesphere (actually a cube).

The promise of formal languages for computers is that, once established, the computer can generate variations of sentences by mutation, selection, and parameterization. In this sense, the Choreography Language Agent can become an active participant in the creative exchange between choreographer and dancer.

Text courtesy of The OpenEnded Group.

Further information available from The OpenEnded Group’s website.

Capture (2001-2008) was an Arts Council England fund managed by PORTLAND GREENTM from 2004 until 2008. It commissioned original art works that challenged the concept of screen-based dance by exploring new relationships between dance and film, video, new media and installation. Applications were encouraged from both established and emerging artists practising in the fields of dance, film, video, new media, installation and other disciplines.