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Response to Harp + Silver’s Performance and Lecture First year grad seminar Inst: Ezra Shales, Andrea Gill by Moyi Zhang 11/10/08 Harp + Silver’s inaugural piece in their lecture: Fruit Machine, which is a tenpart, evening-length multimedia performance including many applications of humancomputer interaction. In general, at the technical level, the whole working flow is mostly like: computer-program-datebase-interface-datebase-sensor-human. During this long complicate process, I believe communication between each step is the hardest thing for an artist to deal with. How could they send and receive information correctly and smoothly? How could they “talk” to others and transform the messages generated by computer into visualized images or actual sound? For an audience, however, it’s all about how could one understand or realize the ideas presented by the artists. The interface itself and live performance happening in front of the interface (image or sound) become the media we could read from. Something made me confused about “Fruit Machine” is that I found it is hardly to define it as a live performance, video, interactive image installation or music video. Even though “multimedia” means a combination of different media and content forms. But could it be anything mixed up all together causally? For example: in Fruit Machine, Phalloi Phaerie/Idyll Excerpts, when the performers doing performance in front of the screen. There is not so much visual connection between the two and the context is not relative to each other. The big screen simply becomes a background of the people and the people have no involvement into the background. They looked very separate. There is no merging of the real physical world and the screen-world and there is no way to fulfill the artist’s intention of transporting the audience into a magical world of rich illusions and mutable genders; Another thing is sometimes, the performers who were in the background video come to alive at the front stage which means the purpose of the live performance is for exhibit the documentary of another performance but not for performance itself. Is the background video a part of the performance or is it another performance? I think it is questionable even it is a small detail. In Warp & Weft Excerpts, The bagpipe player leave the stage when she finish the song, but the image on the screen is still changing itself, therefore, the interactive image suddenly becomes a video music which is a big confusion to me. In Wack-AHH!/Shit Pizza Excerpts, the artist smacks the critters and the boys responds. But how can people enjoy sexual pleasant by being smacked? There is no physical reason I could find. Then why the artist choose the action of smacking the critters? Why there are only two men? Why not three or the same number as the critters? It is also funny when the two naked men show up together shoulder by shoulder and being pleasant in the same time. In Robotic Robot/Robot Love Excerpts, the body of Life size robot becomes an audio-visual controller manipulating the background image composed by movie clips, in the second part, the relationship between the robot and the image cut off again, the movie clips transfer into music video with multiple robots dancing in the same time, and they are not interactive with the robot in front stage any more. It is strange when the artists lead our attention to everywhere


without saying anything. As an audience, I feel myself being put in a very passive position and feeling lost.


Harp + Silver’s