Song for the Living/Dance for the Dead was inspired by an ancient (Ming Dynasty) Chinese poem by Ni Chia-Ch'ing, entitled "Sudden Rain."
All of a sudden
tree colors darkening
I don't know where
the monastery is
it sends out
a bonging of bells
all round me
Additional texts were taken from "Gode's Tale," a fairytale contained in "The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye's," by A. S. Byatt. The music is a mixture of pre-composed and algorithmically-generated materials. It is controlled by software written in MAX, which interprets signals coming from a touch-sensitive dance floor and reacts to them in various ways, generating and/or controlling both music and video images. At times, the dancers'movements produce specific individual sounds and/or short musical passages, giving her complete control over the timing and expression of the music. At other times, their movements trigger short video sequences and/or extended pre-composed sections of music, after which they can dance freely, temporarily having no responsibility for controlling playback.
The MIDI Dance floor
The floor was designed and built at the Department of Music of The University of Texas at Austin. It is capable of transmitting precise position coordinates and continuous pressure information in the form of standard MIDI messages. The surface consists of 128 24-inch Force Sensing Resistors (FSRs) which are fastened to four 4' X 16' strips of material and placed beneath a standard Marley Dance Floor. The FSR's form a grid with 8 rows (front to back) and 8 columns (left to right). The 8 x 8 grid results in 64 2-foot square pressure sensitive regions, each of which is assigned a separate input channel of a Voltage/MIDI Interface Box co-designed by Jim Kerkhoff and Mark McQuilken. The Voltage/MIDI interface incorporates a Motorola MC68HC11 microprocessor and can be programmed to convert analog input signals to any desired MIDI messages, on multiple MIDI channels. Hence, used in conjunction with an "intelligent" external MIDI processing system, it permits one or more dancers to control and/or affect both music and lighting by the nature of their movements and by their precise position(s) on the surface.
Music and software by Russell Pinkston
Original choreography by Mata Sakka
Video by Anita Pantin
Performed by: Natassa Aretha, Bernd Burgmaier, Nadez Catenacci Hristoula Haraka, Inger Malene Glette, Vicky Kolovou, Maggie Lloyd, Hope Mohr, (members of the Merce CunninghamDance Studio)
Back to Concert Report of Song for the Living/Dance for the Dead
Back to Concert 1