IMA alumna Heidi Boisvert PREMIERE: [radical] signs of life

IMA alumna and Rensselaer Arts PHD Candidate, Heidi Boisvert, premieres performance at EMPAC that cultivates an expressive virtual world populated by corporeal sounds and generative imagery from dancers’ bodies.
TROY, NY – April 8th, 2013 – The Arts Department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute announces the premiere of a leading-edge mechanomyogram (MMG) multi-media production, “[radical] signs of life,” on May 3rd at 4:00 pm and May 4th at 7:30 pm in Studio 2 at the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC).

Through responsive dance, “[radical] signs of life” externalizes the mind’s non-hierarchical distribution of thought. Music is generated from the dancers‘ muscles and blood flow via biophysical sensors that capture sound waves from the performers’ bodies. This data triggers complex neural patterns to be projected onto multiple screens as 3D imagery. As the audience interacts with the images produced, they enter into a dialogue with the dancers.

The performance will be one of the first works of this scale using biotechnology to integrate networked bodies and interactive dance. It was conceived and directed by new media artist and game designer Heidi Boisvert in collaboration with an international team of artists, including Pauline Jennings (Choreographer), Doug Van Nort (Sound Designer), Allen Hahn (Set & Lighting Designer), Raven Kwok (Visual Designer), Amy Nielson (Costume Designer) and Marco Donnarumma (Sensor Designer & Developer). The project features the Xth Sense (XS), a biophysical sensor that detects and captures mechanical sound waves produced at the onset of musculature contraction. For “[radical] signs of life,” a wireless network and stand alone armband was custom developed for the XS by engineer MJ Caselden, and industrial designer, Krystal Pernaud.

The choreography for the hour-long performance will be composed in real-time by five dancers from a shared movement database in accordance with pre-determined rules. Outfitted with two wireless sensors each, the dancers–Jennifer Mellor, Ellen Smith Ahern, Hanna Satterlee, Avi Waring and Willow Wonder–will create patterns that dissolve from autonomous polyrhythms to intersecting lines as they slip through generative video and light. Van Nort will improvise original multi-channel electroacoustic music live with new interactive sound instruments based on the XS technology to sculpt a dense web of complex texture and emotion around the audience.

“[radical] signs of life” was produced, in part, at Harvestworks with funds from the Rockefeller Foundation’s New York City Cultural Innovation Fund and the National Endowment for the Arts. The work was made possible through generous support from the Rensselaer Arts Department along with iEAR Studios, and EMPAC staff. Rehearsal space was granted by an Artistic Residency at the Contemporary Dance and Fitness Center in Montpelier, Vermont.

Limited Seating. Reservations recommended. To make reservations, please contact the EMPAC Box Office at: 518.276.3921.

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