Together with photographer Christopher de Gast I developed a workshop for vocal group VOÏSZ from Utrecht. This group of close harmony singers was seeking out artists from other disciplines to open up new perspectives and ideas for their practice, dramaturgy and communication. In this workshop we wanted to address body language through the technology of camera framing. We took the act of framing as one does with a camera, to start looking in a different way at the visual things a choir has to offer for an audience. Singing performances tend to be a bit static because of the acoustics, connection between the singers and conductor, and the priority of the quality of singing over eg. choreography on stage. So we felt like somehow we had to zoom into another level where actually a lot of dynamic expression is taking place.
By playing some games where we asked the group members to look carefully at each other’s micro-body-expressions and movements in the body and report back to each other what they saw. Then we made paper props to isolate these expressive gestures in singing practice to form the basis of this photo series. Sometimes all it takes is to give people a different peep hole. VOÏSZ decided to use the images of the workshop for the promotion of their show Astronaut.
One participant: “We thought it would be nice to do a photography workshop for the pictures we would have after, but I think it was even more valuable that the workshop gave me a way to look at ourselves differently, to see the richness in the expression of what we’re doing there on stage. It’s giving me so much ideas for the dramaturgy!”
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“Touch of Computational Birth” is an artistic research project I am working on with artist-researcher Alexandra Jonsson, PhD candidate at Westminster University. NHS Healthcare reform policies in the UK, such as “Leading Change – Adding Value” (May 2016) show that healthcare is being remodelled according to measurable metrics, which relies on data produced by expecting mothers, new born babies and working midwifes. This project sets out to explore questions as: who harvests the value of these datasets? How are they used outside of direct care, and who is it that benefits?
How can we use art practice and making to analyse and respond to the values and new functions introduced onto the body with current data systems and healthcare reform models in operation. This includes looking at how the role of data collection, monitoring and policy and management structures have changed the routines and practices of midwifery and their relation to expecting mothers. The aim is to study the changes that digital technologies introduce both for the pregnant body, the experience of childbirth and the practice of midwifery. We use art as a tactile and visual way for ourselves, expecting mothers and healthcare practitioners to critically reflect, evaluate and gain a deeper understanding of the processes and relationships produced by digital birth technologies.
In our first collaboration sprint in May 2017 we have interviewed midwives, explored data collection, and database structures, the encoding of birth and corresponding management systems and financial pathways and utilized various mapping techniques, life drawing and DIY printing techniques to provide entries of understanding into these systems. This project is ongoing, more updates will follow soon.
Making code dance/making dance code
During [SZOBA|R|T], a German/Hungarian artist collaboration that took place in an abandoned building in the centre of Budapest, I organised a week of livecoding and dance improvisation jams (see all images here). The idea behind these jams was to bridge the gap in tacit knowledge that is now held by dancers and coders separately. In order to let these knowledges synergize, we should all get on it together and start creating and let new knowledge emerge from the process.
Improvisation: the sweet spot between structure and freedom
How do you start (getting a grip on common conceptual notions between the fields of dance and coding)? What are good design rules for an improvisational framework that both coders and dancers can work with? How many rules do you need? How much freedom is necessary? How do you negotiate this as you go? The project was part of my residency at Kitchen Budapest in 2010, more info here.
A short article of mine was published on VVVNT, dealing with the expressive and philosophical potential of performance practices combining dance improvisation and live coding.VVVNT is an online journal, forum, & project space for sharing ways of thinking with practical connections across time, scale, system, & discipline: http://vvvnt.com/media/dancing-the-digital
Livecoding as improvisational practice
Live coding is a type of performance where programmers show off their visual coding skills in realtime. Completely live, you see animated graphics come to life in projections, while a group of programmers punches in code to entertain their audience with a (audio)visual spectacle. A group of coders from Kitchen Budapest have been experimenting with this recently, especially with implementing the Kinect in the Fluxus environment. Kinect captures movement data in 3D using infrared cameras, which makes it a perfect combination with dance.
The aim of this project therefore, was to find a way to get these improvisers to work together and experiment freely during 3-hour jams, not entirely dissimilar to the jams that are common practice in a dance style known as contact improvisation. Eight local dancers – many of them with a contact improv or contemporary dance background – worked with us during the week, resulting in a demonstration at the opening of week 3 at [SZOBA|R|T].
From livecoding to dancecoding: where practices meet
This setup put no pressure on choreographing a stage performance, but stayed closer to the traditions of contact improvisation and livecoding: focusing on the live interaction between all the actors: live music, the several coders, a number of projections, and the moving bodies of the dancers. Responses of all collaborators were very positive so we investigated the possibilities of organising more jams in the future. I left Budapest but the group continued to collaborate and did a number of dance coding work and performances together.
Movement-Moving Machines investigates the ways in which dance acts as part of a media ecology and social practice as emotive, intuitive, physical experience and expression without becoming mere representation. Here, dance movement is understood as a social (semi-)improvisational activity, rather than choreographed steps. What is foregrounded is the idea that movement is relational: it produces space-time and emerges in connection with other moving bodies, the space around them and other non-human actors. By causing interference in social dance contexts and systems that might look like well-oiled machines, the relationality of moving bodies and touch as a social gesture is articulated. Potentiality as the crux of movement is highlighted: “My body is not in movement when I still think I can predict my steps” (Manning, Politics of Touch, 2007: 26)
Movement-Moving Machines aims to provide experiential entrances into an understanding of dance systems as mediated social system. It is a series of contraptions that help investigate the conditions of social dance, music and movement as set by its own materialities, not just meaning and representation. By intervening in the conventions and material relations of a number of dance settings, these useless machines speculate about the politics of dance and touch, the connections we can or cannot make with other bodies and how these are materialized and sustained. But more importantly, how we may cause ruptures in these systems to open them up to a different critique and a more open-ended future.
This was my final research project for the MA Interactive Media: Critical Theory and Practice I did at Goldsmiths, University of London in 2009-2010. It was exhibited in summer 2010 at the final show, We Are All Transistors.
Magic toys for grown-ups: a personal and emotional learning process in making
Franz is a wall mounted bumblebee and my first design of making toys for grown-ups who dream of having ‘wunderkammers’, and my final project for Fabacademy 2015. For my final project I had to include a number of techniques into one integrated project. I decided to indulge in my private obsession with movement machines (they range from dancing bodies, to augmented reality performances, to mechanical choreographies like Franz).
Techniques and Materials:
3D printed ABS (Rhino), Lasercut acrylic (lllustrator, Inkscape), Lasercut wood and acrylic. Electronics from scratch: Attiny84, unipolar stepper motor, microphone, bulbs (Eagle, Arduino, Fabmodules).
Made at: Fablab Amsterdam
Living Memory is a project investigating the structures of memory in Chalkwell Park by looking into the donated benches, trees and war memorials. It invites visitors of Chalkwell Park to cherish a living memory of a loved one, a relative, a good friend or neighbor by winding a thread around this tree: together changing the tree into a living collective commemoration. In this event memories of ones who’ve passed away and living memories are brought together in a soundscape consisting of whispered recitations of the plaques from the donated benches and trees in the park. In collaboration with Angela (Liu) Wang and Alexandra Jönsson.
Southend-on-Sea (UK), 2010
Interactive installation for Amsterdam Light Festival
During the Amsterdam Light Festival, that took place between the 6th of December 2013 and the 19th of January 2014, residents and visitors of the city Amsterdam were being challenged. During this light festival a group of international students seduced residents and visitors to enlightening the Dark Side of Amsterdam. Visitors were asked to confess about their dark side by wearing anonymous “sin” glasses in a nighttime light painting portrait that would then be projected onto the Mozes & Aäron church at Waterlooplein. This project was commissioned by BeamSystems. 411 People used the installation, and revealed that with a majority of 91 people, Amsterdam is still a sin city of lust. Also see the twitterfeed and Flickr set and the visualisation of the results (below). I coached on the concept development and project management of this project.
Exploring the emotional experience of sin
I developed this project with a team of students from design and technology backgrounds, and we found out very early on that there was a desire for the installation to be an experience, calling for audience participation. This idea eventually came out and was symbolically rich: the context of the church and building a confession booth where you can admit to your sins. While at the same time playing with people’s vanity in the form of dark stylized selfies in which they could semi-anonymously make a statement about their liberalism of choice – bragging almost.
Rituals and theatre
My favourite part of this event and installation was the theater and solemn rituals involved in the whole concept, and the students carried and understood that well. They invited a ‘priest’ to preach about sinfullness in front of the confession booth to draw in people and get people in the mood. The audience would be approached by the students to think about a sin, and pick a pair of sunglasses representing that sin. They had made these with a laser cutter from plywood at iFabrica, and then covered the back with glow-in-the-dark paper that they would charge with a torch. Then the audience would go into the booth (in pairs or alone), to get their confession taken. Inside the booth two assistants shot the lightpainting picture that would be projected and tweede immediately with a moralising quote from the bible.
The Dark Side of Amsterdam won the audience award at Beamlab #32
Students: Sandro Miccoli, Akarsh Sanghi, Adwait Sharma, Shinichiro Ito, Shubhojit Mallick, Mizuki Kojima, Matias Daporta Gonzales. Gabriele Colombo (visual design), Jan Scholte (priest), Loes Bogers (coach and concept development) and Gijs Gootjes (project manager), Supported by BeamSystems: Jason Malone and Jozef Hey. Visuals by: Frouke te Velde www.frouketenvelden.com. Thank you to Irma de Vries for mapping support.
Modular anti-stress bird kit
As part of FabAcademy week 3 I had to design and produce a snap-fit construction kit with the lasercutter. Requirement was that the kit can be put together in many ways (without glue or other things, just by snapping it together). Immediately I opted for a playful and expressive tinkering kit: an anti-stress set of modular elements you can snap together mindlessly when under a bit of stress. The fact that their very angry looking machine birds sure helps to get rid of some frustration :)
My birds were features in this Makezine article!
A few weeks later for the Make Something Big assignment I decided to redo the birds in plywood with the shopbot CNC router and scaled them up to 1 x 1 x 1 meters…
Urban Projection is a video mapping project for MediaLAB at Hogeschool van Amsterdam. I was the line manager and creative producer during this collaboration with 4 video artists with whom we created this video mapping event at Rhijnspoorplein (Wibautstraat/Mauritskade), one of the busiest junctions in Amsterdam. The evening of video art projections on a 7-storey building was one of the first large scale video mapping events in the Dutch capital.
May 2009, Amsterdam, The Netherlands