Repetition & Repetition

As I look back on my work devising experiential media systems under the guidance of Alex Oliszewski in preparation to assign myself an independently formed project, now underway, I’m reminded of these pedagogical methods I enlisted from the beginning as a way of continuing to experiment with software and systems as yet new.

From September 30, 2015

I made several Isadora projects because I realized that in order to learn to build a system independently, I needed to start over multiple times. Each beginning was formed with support. Once I had created an initial course of shapes altered through actors to land in a projected stage, and I could progress through adding shapes and additional actors, I found I could look backwards to my initial connections in order to firmly establish which trigger in/outs were correct. I need to know I could manifest them again. So I started over. Replication was teaching me, but repetition was going to teach me better. And so, I’ve arrived at a rather mediocre little looping film of shapes with timed motion and transparencies as its the fourth miniature project of building similar projections. No doubt this restarting choice, with multiple short films was certainly influenced by a few other it’s-real-life factors: a flu, a power outage during my last project, and a subsequent broken computer in the last hours of plans to submit. (A note of gratitude to the OSU media lab in which I am now writing this post.)

Isadora 09-30-15

The familiar challenge of building a looping project that sustains attention is not lost on this dance and filmmaker. Repetition tends to breed the encouragement to “look” elsewhere, e.g. that dancer has been doing the same forward and back run for a minute, he’s likely to continue, now I am free to examine other elements of the experience. When there are no other elements, attention may fade–or build with the sensation of subtle change or detail. I found with the initial shapes moving through the space, I engaged with an aesthetic draw; even if it repeats and is “boring,” if it’s “attractive,” it’s engaging. Or is it: if it’s engaging it’s attractive? In this last patch, there are three main shapes. How to make three shapes be just the most fascinating thing; this frankly, is not something I have yet arrived at, but with this project I am beginning to find the possibilities that I can actually do. Right now the bluntness of my abilities is blunting not my imagination but my ability to manifest ideas into an actual projection. (I’ve got some grand ideas for a new piano sonata, but I’ve got to learn to play the piano first, etc., etc.) Discovering the Dots actor and extending its own timing while changing its rotation felt like I was able to bring in an element that changed enough to sustain a slight furthering of a viewer’s attention. I had originally played with the Kaleidoscope Actor (misspelled in Isadora), imagining a wealth of change, but discovered it was not applying as generative change as I had expected. I applied Dots instead, recalling a colleague’s mentioning of their current favored actor for the project. I altered the color in addition to the rotation, played with its timing, and set it going in hopes of having a minute experience of moving shapes to keep you watching.


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