the liminal surface (ongoing)
interactive table top environment
As part of an ongoing collaboration with Ali Momeni (University of
Minnesota), I am helping to
develop a new instrument
for the creation of experimental music theater. Inspired by our
previous collaboration (Table
Setting), this environment
uses a portable “table-top” construction to integrate audio, video,
analog and digital sensors, and computer-based control of external
media (i.e. musical robotics). This environment
will enable the composition of a series of new works exploring
interactive computer music, intermodal relationships, and
collaborative performance on a visually stimulating and
technologically sophisticated platform. We are now in the process
of creating the first compositions for the liminal surface - the first
versions of which were completed in the summer of 2009.
interactive tables allow for a manner of tabletop musical theater that
combines contemporary music and theater, performative sculpture,
percussive musical practice, and interactive software-enhanced
performance and builds on an existing collaborative practice between
Momeni and Bithell. Known as the liminal surface, these
table-top miniature stages are outfitted with sensors and actuators as
well as sound and video hardware. The tables are designed
to accommodate a wide range of sensors that provide our specialized
real-time audio/visual software with information about our physical
Similarly, the tables allow connectivity with a wide range of actuators (i.e. electromechanical components like motors and solenoids that are integrated into small moving sculptures). These actuators are controlled by our specialized software according to precomposed rules as well as interactive translations of our gestures. Concurrently, contact microphones attached to the table and small pin-hole cameras that can be positioned around the table allow the performers to present a rich and immersive audio/visual perspective of this miniature stage.
These inputs (sensors, microphones, cameras) and outputs (actuators, loud-speakers, video projectors), together with the specialized real-time software we create to connect these components, allow us to compose a wide range of pieces that explore theatrical performance with an interactive audiovisual instrument. The above technology creates a rich world of theatrical, musical and real-time interactive possibilities for performance.
The strength of the liminal surface as a performance instrument lies in its combination of physical objects that autonomously take on musical and theatrical roles, and the power of the performers to theatrically intervene into this autonomy. Another important performative strength is our ability to use audio and video amplification and perspective to instill musical and theatrical meaning into the actions performed by the table's machinations. In this regard, the commissioned work approaches the newly emergying genre of Live Cinema, where performers play the role musician and visual artist, as well as actor and cinematographer.
Portions of the work on the liminal surface has been supported by a Faculty Research Grant from the University of North Texas, a Graduate Division Faculty Summer Research Fellowship from the University of Minnesota, a McKnight Summer Fellowship, and a commission from the Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology at Connecticut College.
|paper: "The Liminal Surface : An Interactive Table-top Environment for Hybridized Music - Theater Performance" Published in the Proceedings from the 12th Biennial Symposium on Arts and Technology, Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology, Spring 2010.|
|development blog: ls.alimomeni.net