The Measures Taken (2014)

R&D, 2011-2014

 

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An interactive stage performance, commissioned by the Royal Opera House. A collaboration with Alexander Whitley Dance Company.

“Scene-by-scene it’s extraordinary”
– The Guardian

“Scintillating inspiration born of clever science”
– The Times

‘When we look to technology to deliver us from accidents, from choice and even from mortality we are asking from it something it cannot give: a deliverance from the conditions that make us human. We are seeking from technology… salvation from ourselves.’ – John Gray

The Measures Taken was the first work created for Alexander Whitley Dance Company, made in collaboration with digital arts studio Marshmallow Laser Feast. It was commissioned by the Royal Opera House and premiered at Maison Des Arts de Creteil’s EXIT Festival in Paris on 1st April 2014.

Visually striking and kinetically charged, this work for five dancers uses cutting edge motion-tracking technology to project visuals that interact with the performers’ movements in real-time. Asking how and on what terms such technology can ‘watch’ a moving body and how this contrasts to the way a human does, the piece explores the tendency of a system that ‘knows’ only by quantity and how our fundamental desire for discovery drives this. How is it that the gaze of technology has the potential to change the way we see ourselves and relate to one other and to what extent does our hunger for knowledge lead us astray?

Press

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Acknowledgements and credits

Visuals and motion tracking
Marshmallow Laser Feast
Direction : Memo Akten, Robin McNicholas, Barney Steel
Visuals design and development : Memo Akten, Ersinhan Ersin and Natan Sinigaglia
Tracking Development : Memo Akten & Elliot Woods

Music : Rutger Zuydervelt / machinefabriek
Lighting design : Lee Curran
Costume Design : Oliver Townsend

The creation of The Measures Taken was supported by the Royal Opera House, Arts Council England, Quercus, Sadler’s Wells, DanceEast, the GDA/Trinity Laban Partnership, The Old Market, South East Dance, artsdepot, Jerwood Space and the Jerwood Choreographic Research Project (with funds from Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Bonnie Bird Choreography Fund, DanceEast, East London Dance, Greenwich and Docklands International Festival, Opera Group, ResCen, The Royal Ballet, The Roundhouse and State of Emergency)

Technical information for tracking interactive visuals

8x Kinects connected to 4x onstage mini-computers.
1x Graphics server
1x Show control computer
2x Projectors
Early R&D also included laser projector.

Tracking and visuals software was written using openFrameworks and vvvv.