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With his new group piece, the choreographer Bud Blumenthal takes on a theme of pressing concern that has been but touched upon in spite of his long time interest in the subject : Ecology.
His idea is to bring the spectator to understand, without guilt and through dance, the direct relationship that humanity has with the environment. With digital interactive techniques that amplify and sense movement of live plants on stage, the impact of the vegetal realm becomes visible.
© Lucas Racasse
This dance and new technology production deals with ecology as a theme for love, struggle and survival.
All interpersonal, political, ethical and even moral questions, are subservient to the ecological question.
How to care for vegetal life as much as we care for our beloved?
How to survive… ourselves?
The central challenge in the choreography of Leaves of Grass is to reveal in space and between bodies the incessant dance of complexity inside human relations. Relations that form and transform our lives and in turn model our planet
@ Chris Harrison-Kerr
In order to give plants a veritable role to play in the performance, meaning not as elements of decoration or ornament but as living beings, we must capture and amplify their internal changes and the outer movements calling upon high levels of technological development.
Several technical challenges for this creation :
1. Interaction with plants and flowers : objective of detecting with optics and sensors the movements in the reactions of plants to light, heat and humidity. The mimosa pudica, desmodium gryrans, venus fly trap, morning glory or desert rose for example, all act on different time scales from instantly, five seconds, one minute or a half hour and govern the cadence of the show.
2. The interactive sound : the choreographer/botanist is also the DJ. Wireless sensors on his body allow his gestures to start, stop and modify in real-time the audio files and generative algorithms of the sound score.
3. Projection Sphere : through an ingenious optical system, live close-up images of the plant installation on stage are projected from within onto the curved surface of the sphere floating over the stage.
OPTICAL MOVEMENT DETECTION
SKETCH FOR SPHERE MOVEMENT
FEBRUARY 2015 Digital and botanic research in Studio Hybrid (Brussels) MAY 2015 Audition for 6 dancers in Studio Hybrid AUGUST 2015 First choreographic residence in the Centre Culturel La Marlagne (Wepion) OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2015 Choreography, music and vegetal composition. DECEMBER 2015 - JANUARY 2016 Company residency in Centre Culturel La Marlagne for finishing choreography and technical integration. JANUARY 2016 Presentation of first stage of Leaves of Grass : choreography, music, plants, lights in the Centre Culturel La Marlangne. APRIL 2016 Residency for finalisation of digital integration : interactivity of plant and body to sound, video cameras and spherical projection. AUTUMN 2016 Final residency and premier of Leaves of Grass
Discover the complete presentation file here