MIRRORS & SMOKE (1999-2001)

front1_4a.

MIRRORS & SMOKE is a performance that is native to, and which could only be experienced in, an immersive environment. It is a disc-based interactive performance for solo audience. The viewer composes the piece, in terms of field of view, sequence of image/sound events and their duration, through navigation and interaction choices. The piece can be paused, and sequences repeated. The 3D environment is composed of more than 100 animated sequences, scripted to simulate movement and afford the viewer choices in navigation, which create possibilities  for  discovery. By clicking on the center or sides of the screen, the viewer triggers animations that pan/tilt the view or move toward an object or area. The interactive environment is also the viewer’s interface to access a rich variety of embedded visual and sound elements. The main performance elements are movement sequences and spoken word by Ralph Lemon. The narrative passages, spoken by Ralph, are excerpts from his (global) travel journals and memoir, made during the span of this project. They are heard in the space, triggered by the viewer’s navigation and interaction choices.

MIRRORS & SMOKE is a prototype in the emerging terrain of immersive performance and non-linear narrative. Collaborators on this project include Ralph Lemon, choreographer/dancer/narrator, Katherine Milton, Ph.D., interactive scripting, and Patricia Clark, media production.

Play Sample Navigation Sequence

.

.

The visual design of MIRRORS & SMOKE mirrors the fragments of journal narrative and dance in the performance elements. This visual approach is influenced by Jean Cocteau’s set and lighting design in La Belle et La Bette (1929), suggesting place with fragments, light and shadow. It is also influenced by the genre-defining video game Myst(1995), by Robin and Ryan Rand.

L_9B_4a.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Play Sample Animation

.

.m&s 02_4a

Homage to Elegua at the Crossroads.

.

.

.

.

My prior research into symbolic language systems, and field production experience in The Caribbean, Central America, India, Africa, and the South Pacific was significant in the collaboration with Ralph. His research and performance travels had taken him to many of the same places. We knew the same smells, the same taste of dust. This shared sensibility allowed me an intuitive approach to the visual narrative and presentation of the performance elements. In his choreography, performance and writing, Ralph Lemon contemplates and confronts perceptions of self, as he challenges his own concepts and approaches to art-making.

 

L_3D_4a

 

 

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Play Sample Animation

.

The Incarnational Metaphor: Ralph Lemon’s journal passages and choreographic source materials discover identity the perceived reflection in others, layerd with Ralph’s imagination and memory. The narrative elements are fragments, disjointed sequentially and proximally. My design of the 3D performance environment is a spatial analogue, giving the fragmented temporal terrains of the journal a “place”.

MIRRORS & SMOKE is intended to be too extensive and layered to see, hear, and process in one walk-thru, and intriguing enough to warrant multiple encounters. The returning viewer brings familiarity and memory, plus new eyes with which to discover other elements, narrative paths, and meaning.

.

(SLIDESHOW)

The 3D modeling and animation sequences were produced with Strata 3D Studio, and the navigation and interaction scripting was done with Macromedia Director.

MIGRATION: Source video, audio and 35mm photo fragments are derived from research and production for First World Order, Alchemy, Journeys, and Drummin’.

TRAJECTORY: Mirrors & Smoke explores ideas about multiple simultaneous narratives, and narratives designed for variable sequence. These ideas find further development in the synthetic world projects In The Sweet Bye & Bye, and the work-in-progress Bronzeville Sketches.

MIRRORS & SMOKE was recognized as a new frame of reference for media-makers in a range of genres when Katherine Milton and I were invited to present this work at The Flaherty International Film Seminars conference in 2001.

Produced at the Institute for Studies in the Arts, Arizona State University, Richard L. Loveless, Director.

  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: