Phase Repair I (2015), 2-channel HD, 5'04"
The first iteration of this project was an attempt to have an actor rehearse for two channels at once. The actor had to project how the performance on channel one, created metadata that in turn cut up his performance on channel two. The feedback mechanism between the two channels was music. A detection algorithm would identify musical intervals in channel one and use them to dictate the cut of channel two.
On channel one, the actor sat at a piano and played a hybrid song: Prospero's final soliloquy in the Tempest set to the melody of Sinatra's 'All of Me'. The chords he played projected a performance onto a second channel in which he was sitting on a stool, listening to and commenting on his memory of channel one. The barstool would rotate in 90° increments depending on the interval of music played. Musical intervals inflect language in the present (a love song in minor is different from one in major), but here they simultaneously rotate a body in the future. The table below shows the relationship between the different channels.
The actor could control whether his metadata dppelganger looked to him or looked away. The effect would be analogous to intervals: Language would be inflicted differently if the two channels were sustained or conflicted. The table above describes this. The actor had to remember the progression of the previous take. The idea in having the same actor play both channels was to show his body socializing the algorithmic edit. The arc of this particular iterative frame was to bring the body in the present in sync with itself in postproduction. A third camera recorded the piano keyboard, showing the mediating mechanism between production and postproduction. This compositing would allow literal inscription of channel one on the body in channel two
Acting in the iterative frame asks the actor to do two things at once. If the actor already has experience in a mode of performance that has two levels so much the better (e.g. singing and playing piano). Then, the editing algorithm can be written to accommodate that embodied skill. The rehearsal process that we watch then is not one of motor memory but of imagination.
Ultimately, this setup proved too difficult to realize. It was however an important step toward the second iteration of the project and thus I am including documentation on the website. The main difference between the first iteration and the second iteration is that in this, the first one, feedback was delayed. To have the editing algorithm indeed inscribe itself on the performance, I realized feedback had to be in real time