Lab 2 Proposal

I will be focusing on creating a documentary for the second lab. This will be a follow up from my first lab where I started documenting my work and I will use the footage from this lab along with new footage that will be recorded.

The aim for this lab is to experiment with ways I can document my work through video and software, to become familiar with using video cameras and finding ways to edit media and present a video that reflects my practice alongside with developing software that allows the audience to interact with the video and use hands-on examples of my practice shown in the documentary.

Although seen as factual “Documentary” has been described as a “filmmaking practice, a cinematic tradition, and mode of audience reception” that is continually evolving and is without clear boundaries”

(Nichols, Bill. ‘Foreword’, in Barry Keith Grant and Jeannette Sloniowski (eds.) Documenting The Documentary: Close Readings of Documentary Film and Video. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1997)

My idea is to explore how my documentary can push beyond the video format and allow the audience to engage and interact with a video. It will also be shared online on my website and I will explore ways in which the online format can also be interactive.

I will require:

  • An HD video camera
  • Minimum of 8gb memory for video camera

My following objectives for this lab are:

  • To help other people understand my practice, to be more organised and build an online portfolio and to improve my creative skills and thinking.
  • Push beyond the boundaries of video documentary and allow people to not only see my work but also use my work as in the form of an installation and online media.

Lab 2 Report

Due to pressures of time I planned to spend the weekend beforehand working on the first half of the lab and setting up the lab within University on Thursday before the showing on Friday.

I checked through my proposal and made some adjustments as research I had conducted in the meantime introduced me to some new ideas that I wanted to test, ahead of my interim show performance and my final project. Instead of creating a documentary I decided that I would be using video footage from dance rehearsals for my narrative piece in order to explore the concept of Digital Choreography as Merce Cunnigham did when he collaborated with the OpenEndedGroup for Handdrawn Spaces and Biped.

In order to reflect these changes I rewrote my lab proposal.

I will be focusing on creating an interactive video installation for the second lab. This will be a follow up from my first lab where I started documenting my work and I will use the footage from this lab along with new footage that will be recorded.

The aim for this lab is for me to experiment with ways I can document my work through video and software, to become familiar with using video cameras and finding ways to edit media and present a video that reflects my practice alongside with developing software that allows the audience to interact with the video.

My idea is influenced by the OpenEnded Group’s collaboration with Merce Cunningham creating Hand-drawn Spaces. Series of dance movement were recorded and then pieced together, “digitally choreographed”, by Cunningham on the computer.

My idea is to explore how audience members can create their own choreography, using videos I have recorded and using Leap as a means of tracking users hands to interact with the videos. It will also be shared online on my blog in the form of images and video.

I will require:

  • An HD video camera
  • Minimum of 8gb memory for video camera

My following objectives for this lab are:

  • To help other people understand my practice, to be more organised and build an online portfolio and to improve my creative skills and thinking.
  • Push beyond the boundaries of video documentary and allow people to not only see my work but also use my work as in the form of an installation and online media.
  • To explore the concept of digital choreography considering the audience and giving them control over creating choreography.

The original plan was to use the installation I built from the lab and set it up as an exhibit during the interim show. My aim was to use a Leap Motion sensor connected to a Raspberry Pi sensor that would be plugged into a monitor. I decided to test this set up in detail however I was hit with a setback. The Raspberry Pi was not compatible with the Leap Motion sensor rendering the idea useless.

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I should have researched a little more before I attempted to create this project. I assumed that because Processing works on the Raspberry Pi I could get a majority of things to work, which I have already tested on a Mac, but that is not the case.

As a result I’ve learned more about programming, Raspberry Pi, and the need to research a bit more with regards to technology before taking on a project. In the end I decided that I would continue with the lab and aim to achieving the same outcome instead with my laptop and Isadora. Ultimately this decision meant that I would have to withdraw my exhibit for the interim show and focus on the performance dedicating time to improving the narrative piece performance.

Making the decision also allowed me to focused on my new proposal, making an interactive installation where people can create their own choreography and dance piece.

The programming was straightforward so I set up my installation on Thursday and had a session testing my ideas among my course mates to get feedback and make any suitable changes before the showing. I was able to focus on creating a space using multiple screens, as I wanted to use multiple videos on separate screens. I also thought back to my idea of puppetry, which I explored briefly at the start of the unit and made a screen, to go on top showing the user’s hands.

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I decided to have music running during the installation as a stimulus for the audience. I took an idea from my narrative piece juxtaposing music to the idea. I chose a Japanese drum score which I felt gave a good rhythm to stimulate the audience without sounding techno or electronic.

My intention for the screens was to place emphasis on the body within a space using video projections. The installation was tested with course mates for brief feedback. As a result I changed half of the installation to be more simple and obvious to use so that I could see an impact of my original idea and the new idea based on feedback. To do this I set the left hand to control one video which adjusted the speed depending on the position of your hand in relation to the Leap motion sensor. The right hand based on the feedback adjusted the position of the video, making it more obvious you were in control.

Another feedback I received was to create instructions, which I set up on laptop screen. I realised that instructions are useful and I should consider them in more detail.

The showing was successful and I managed to have a variety of people use my installation and I received positive feedback as well as some ideas on how to improve the experience of the installation.

Conceptually the idea worked. People appreciated the juxtaposition of the Japanese drum music giving them the ability to naturally choreograph. The space layout helped towards the conceptual idea including the image of your own hands projected helped realise the idea behind the installation.

A few people were confused with how to interact despite the instructions. Upon asking they mentioned that they were not clear enough since the interactive space was away from the laptop screen where the instructions were placed so they didn’t seem instantly obvious.

One of the comments was that the installation created an interesting juxtaposition of video clips. Reflecting identity and chaos in online communication and digitally being in control.

The feedback was very encouraging and inspired me to work on developing the digitally choreographed of my narrative piece for the interim show. My original plan was to develop a few ideas and showcase a range of my work for the show however I learnt that it is better to focus on a single idea and craft it, giving it breathing space.

Video

Video during testing