Four artists — Brian Knep, Golan Levin, Casey Reas and Sosolimited — were invited to independently re-purpose Merce Cunningham’s dance performance data into new digital forms. The source of the data was the LOOPS project (2001-2008), a digital portrait of Merce Cunningham by artists Marc Downie, Shelley Eshkar and Paul Kaiser. Motion capture information of Cunningham’s performance has been released as open source data by the Cunningham Foundation and OpenEnded Group (the artists’ organization) for this purpose. The LOOPS project is funded by the LEF Foundation; the four remixes were commissioned by the 2009 Boston Cyberarts Festival.
Merce’s Isosurface (2009: Golan Levin remixing Merce Cunningham + OpenEnded Group) returns a mortal coil to the disembodied datapoints of Merce Cunningham’s LOOPS performance. Here, the digitally captured coordinates of Cunningham’s fingers and knuckle joints are used to structure a smooth field of simulated energy. The result is a twitchy, fleshy blob, animated by Cunningham’s own movements, which dances in the liminal territory between pure abstract form and medical information visualization.
A video fragment showing Merce Cunningham dancing (with his hands) in the motion capture system is shown below. (Courtesy OpenEnded Group)
- PixelAche Festival. Kiasma Art Center, Helsinki, Finland. 3/2010.
- Vantage, Archer Gallery, Clark College, Portland, Oregon. 1/2010.
- Loops Exhibition, Boston Cyberarts Festival 2009, MIT Museum, Boston. 5/2009.