Rebecca Bryant | Carol Cunningham-Sigman | Fabian Winkler


still from Dolly performance
explanatory video (Quicktime, H.264, 64MB) | full performance (Quicktime, H.264, 70.3MB)
technical information (.pdf, 488KB) | related paper: Movement and the Machine (.pdf, 2.0MB)

Dolly is a new media dance performance that raises questions about the illusion of creating another self - an external self that is placed in the history of cloning, geminoids and doppelgangers.

The movements created in Dolly follow a simple technical structure: an interactive computer- vision system tracks the vertical position of a live performer in front of a screen. Horizontal movements of the dancer directly control the playback of a video recording of another performer on the screen: the virtual playback head of the projected video follows the live dancer like a shadow. At the same time the live performer constantly responds to the movements of the projected dancer. An extremely slowed down recording of the onscreen performer's breathing is used as the performance's sound track.

Scenes exploring the movement phrases in a duet of a live and video dancer are enhanced by video excerpts investigating further the concept of duplication: through images, abstracted text and sound.

From a performer's perspective, experimentation with the structure of Dolly has resulted in interesting new findings about predictability, control, harmony and frustration in a computer-based real-time dance performance: since only horizontal movements trigger video responses, jumping up in front of the screen does not make the video dancer jump. The system deliberately frustrates the performer's and the audience's desire for control or predictability on a 1:1 scale. It instead offers a much richer and complex space for visual and aural interactions between the two dancers, a space that allows more improvised movement to happen and one that furthers the conceptual development of Dolly's main theme: the illusion of creating another self through duplication.

Still Images (click on thumbnail for larger image)

still 1 from Dolly performance  still 2 from Dolly performance  still 3 from Dolly performance  still 4 from Dolly performance