LONGING AND FORGETTING
Canada ― US ― Germany ― 2013-2016
Longing + Forgetting explores the ways in which machines are ascribed intelligence, whilst humans are increasingly treated like machines.
Using a simple movement ‘alphabet’ that borrows from Laban concepts of effort, weight, and space, the 12 physical performers were filmed traversing a climbing wall.
This resulted in a ‘dataset’ of thousands of video clips that were lovingly hand animated and tagged, before developing a path-finding algorithm to ‘stitch together’ generative combinations from that alphabet.
As such, each digital performer is comprised of many fragments of movement – both human and machine processed – which can be combined to create complex and emergent choreographies.
Originally commissioned as an interactive public artwork for the Surrey Urban Screen (Vancouver, 2013), the work is currently (2022/23) being ‘remastered and remixed’ at 4K resolution and being updated through a series of experiments with Generative Adversarial Networks to create digital performers and temporal choreographies “that don’t exist” (a term coined to describe the process of generating new digital media from a corpus of data, see: “this person doesn’t exist”).
Longing + Forgetting [LAF] is a collaboration between Matt Gingold, Dr Philippe Pasquier, a world leading expert in machine learning and director of the Metacreation Lab, and Dr Thecla Schiphort, a pioneer of digital choreography who created Lifeforms, the choreographic computer system used by Merce Cunningham.
The work was developed during my residency at the School of Interactive Art and Technology, Simon Fraser University (Vancouver, CA) as part of Moving Stories, a broader research project into gesture, machine learning, dance, movement and meaning.
LAF has had several presentations, including live performance, generative video projection (Generations, ISEA Vancouver, 2015), real-time data visualization (Scores + Traces, New York, 2016) and an academic paper and performance for CHI 2017 (Denver), the premier international conference in the field of Human-Computer Interaction.