MARCO DONNARUMMA

Performing bodies, sounds and machines

Marco Donnarumma | sound art and performance art, human body and biotechnology


MARCO
DONNARUMMA

radical. Signs of Life

[radical] Signs of Life is a large-scale biophysical dance show conceived by Heidi Boisvert in collaboration with an international team of artists. Through responsive dance, the piece externalises the mind’s non-hierarchical distribution of thought.

 

About the work

Music is generated from the dancers‘ muscles and blood flow via the XTH Sense biophysical sensors that capture sound waves from the performers’ bodies. This data triggers complex neural patterns to be projected onto multiple screens as 3D imagery. As the audience interacts with the images produced, they enter into a dialogue with the dancers. Conceptually, the piece is an embodied examination of self-organizing systems and the increasing disparity between the encroachment of bio-data and the quiet discord of bio-memory. The work reveals the dangerous legacy of cybernetics, and awakens an urgent need for inserting the body and affect into technology before technology further embeds itself inside of us.

The audience enters an open black box theatre with multiple moving screens configured around a reflecting pool, behind which five dancers perform. Each dancer wears two wireless XTH Sense sensors on the body. The XTH Sense is a biophysical technology that detects and captures mechanical sound waves produced at the onset of muscular contraction. As the dancers begin to move, the corporeal sounds produced by their muscular activity are processed by the XTH Sense software, and then composed into real-time music. Data extracted from the emerging music composition is used to drive generative 3D imagery projected on multiple movable screens. A motion capture system enables the audience to interact with the 3D imagery through their own bodily gestures. A non-linguistic dialogue among the dancers and the audience is created. [radical] is one of the first works of this scale using biotechnology to integrate networked bodies and interactive dance.

The choreography is composed in real-time by five dancers from a shared movement database in accordance with pre-determined rules. Outfitted with two wireless sensors each, the dancers  create patterns that dissolve from autonomous polyrhythms to intersecting lines as they slip through generative video and light. Original multi-channel electroacoustic music is also performed live with new interactive sound instruments based on the XTH Sense technology to sculpt a dense web of complex texture and emotion around the audience.

Award: Creativity + Technology = Enterprise production grant (Harvestworks, Rockefeller Foundation’s New York City Cultural Innovation Fund, the National Endowment for the Arts)
Keywords: large-scale, self-organisation, interactive, multi-channel sound
Status: Available for booking

radical. Signs of Life photo gallery

  • Heidi Boisvert Marco Donnarumma - Radical Dance Sound Art
  • Heidi Boisvert Marco Donnarumma - Radical Dance Sound Art
  • Heidi Boisvert Marco Donnarumma - Radical Dance Sound Art
  • Heidi Boisvert Marco Donnarumma - Radical Dance Sound Art
  • Heidi Boisvert Marco Donnarumma - Radical Dance Sound Art
  • Heidi Boisvert Marco Donnarumma - Radical Dance Sound Art
  • Heidi Boisvert Marco Donnarumma - Radical Dance Sound Art
  • Heidi Boisvert Marco Donnarumma - Radical Dance Sound Art

Year of creation: 2013
Technique: light, computers, transparent screens, water, biophysical sensors, loudspeakers, generative algorithms
Duration: 60’00”- 90’00” depending upon how rules play out
Dimensions: min. 25m x 18m x 6m

Heidi Boisvert Marco Donnarumma - Radical Dance Sound Art
Heidi Boisvert Marco Donnarumma - Radical Dance Sound Art
Heidi Boisvert Marco Donnarumma - Radical Dance Sound Art
Heidi Boisvert Marco Donnarumma - Radical Dance Sound Art
Heidi Boisvert Marco Donnarumma - Radical Dance Sound Art
Heidi Boisvert Marco Donnarumma - Radical Dance Sound Art
Heidi Boisvert Marco Donnarumma - Radical Dance Sound Art
Heidi Boisvert Marco Donnarumma - Radical Dance Sound Art

Exhibitions

  • EMPAC, Troy, New York, US, May 2013

Credits

Heidi Boisvert – Concept and direction
Pauline Jennings – Choreography
Jennifer Mellor, Ellen Smith Ahern, Hanna Satterlee, Avi Waring and Willow Wonder – Dancers
Doug Van Nort – Music
Allen Hahn – Set & Light Design
Raven Kwok – Visual Design
Amy Nielson – Costume Design
Marco Donnarumma – Sensor design & interaction design
MJ Caselden – Hardware & Firmware engineer
Krystal Persaud – Industrial design
Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) – Production Residency
Arts Department at Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute – Production Support
iEAR Studios – In kind support
Montpelier Contemporary Dance & Fitness Center – Studio time

Publications

Van Nort, D.
[radical] signals from life: from muscle sensing to embodied machine listening/learning within a large-scale performance piece
Proceedings of the 2nd International Workshop on Movement and Computing (MOCO), ACM, 2015.