iteration13 (2008) is a structured multimedia improvisation employing unorthodox performance ensemble and theater: a visual artist who generates sound by drawing onto a mylar using piezo-amplified charcoal pencil, a tap dancer with shoes as a pitched instrument, and a musician who performs using a camera (whose live feed is processed and projected on the wall) and a Nintendo Wii remote by which he shapes interactive sound and visuals, as well as the overall work’s structure and the main mix. Throughout the piece, performers’ roles appear to evolve, often trading their respective domains and trajectories.
The work explores structure and program as predominantly orthogonal, yet nonetheless mutually influencing streams. The continually evolving juxtaposition of abstract attack-based aural events produced by a tap and smooth gestures of an amplified pencil and their permutations (point-based attacks by pencil and a dragging foot gesture) seeks to assimilate seemingly polarized sound sources. Likewise, through the use of pencil gestures the piece investigates poignant contrasts among elements of nature, such as water and fire. This absoluteness is superimposed by a literal poetry and a soundtrack that punctuates the ending. In part inspired by the visual content, the closing section describes sea waves splashing against the shores of a newly discovered world, a landing following a long and perilous voyage at the sea.
From a technological perspective, I wanted to design technology that was all but invisible–amplified tap shoes were retrofitted with piezo elements whose signal was broadcast using a Sennheiser wireless microphone transmitter. Amplified charcoal pencil utilized a piezo element that was connected directly to a soundcard via a wire hidden under a long piece of mylar which the visual performer used as an infinite canvas and whose ensuing drawing grew with each performance. I had a wireless camera mounted onto a palm of one of my hands, while the other held a Nintendo Nunchuk that was connected to a Wii remote taped against my forearm (and hidden under a shirt), so that I can rely upon haptic feedback (in part to offset the absence of a visual interface) to differentiate between on and off states of various variables. Consequently, offering several dozen commands through the use of key combinations, joystick position, and wrist angle, Nunchuk served as the mixer, event trigger, and a real-time modulator for both audio and video streams, latter being a convolved feed from my palm-mounted camera.
iteration13 was devised in collaboration with Carol-Burch Brown (VT) and Ann Kilkelly (VT).
- DISIS Digital Id 080418 multimedia event, Blacksburg, Virginia, April 2008. (premiere)
- SEAMUS 2009 performance at Sweetwater headquarters in Fort Wayne, Iowa, April 17, 2009.
- International Intermedia Festival of Telematic Arts, Indianapolis, Indiana, April 25, 2010.
- International Computer Music Conference, Stony Brook, New York, June 5, 2010.
- Virginia Tech College of Architecture and Urban Studies Symposium, in Blacksburg, Virginia, February 18, 2011.
- Virginia Tech Awakening the Digital Imagination Faculty Seminar, Blacksburg, Virginia, November 30, 2011.