Performance never exists in a vacuum. Observers bring a
lifetime of experience and memory to every event. Acknowledging
this fact 'Soma' accesses a tiny sliver of the audience's
collective memory: that of the performance itself.
As the they unfold, the dancers' movements are filmed by the artist. In realtime this footage is archived, processed, and--at the discretion of the artist--reintroduced on screen. These clips, along with the dancers' movements, evoke the recent past to the audience. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, 'Soma' draws attention to the observers' own process of recollection.
Soma was a part of a larger cross-departmental collaboration between DXARTS and Dance at the University of Washington.
The premise, titled Dancing in the Digital Domain, set to design five new performances engaging with new technologies
in the application to performance and dance. Each performance was created by cross disciplinary teams. Soma's creative team
consisted of myself, sound artist Michael McCrea, media artist Jared Friend and choreographers Louis Gervais and Jamie Hall.
Soma was performed 5 nights during May of 2008 at Meany Hall in Seattle.
In Soma, as the dance progresses images are captured from a camera through a custom-built video processing application. This application
processes selected moments into a catalogued 'memory' of the performance, with the ability to recall them at the will of the system's performer.
The video is processed using a time-domain blurring, affecting the video in ways that eludes to memory, recall, and emphasized moments.