Moving Target, 1995-1996
Moving Target was first performed by Charleroi/Danses on April 27.1996. The work was been created by the choreographer Frederic Flamand and the artists/architects Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio. The Academy of Media Art has contributed with the collaboration of artists Paolo Atzori, Ivar Smedstad, and Kirk Woolford. Their work was developed as an investigation of the schizophrenic body in the architectural space created by Diller and Scofidio.
The unorthodox construction of the "Moving Target" set allowed them to explore movements of bodies unbounded by physical and virtual space, blurring internal, and external spaces through a combination of digital effects and live computer graphics and allowing the dancers to freely shift between real, dream, virtual, and material conditions.
This video shows the development of the interactive "Virtual Cage" developed by Kirk Woolford in collaboration with Diller+Scofidio and the artists from the Academy of Media Arts, Cologne
The performance Moving Target explores schizophrenia and the ever-shifting relationship between the pathological and the normal.
Because the definition of pathological depends entirely upon viewpoint, Moving Target delves into the realms of observation and control as part of the performance. This observation needed a cold, sterile feel, and the control had to define limits or boundaries which would then be enforced by somebody else, while enabling the controller to remain cold and aloof. The most distant, cold, aloof observers we could conceive of were computers such as military tracking computers or police traffic monitors. We designed such an observational system as part of the stage and allowed it to exert its control through projections onto the dancers themselves.
The observational system defines a "virtual cage" or "official zone of participation" through surveillance of 6 dancers. One of these dancers is the controllee. The computer makes this clear by projecting a cross-hair onto the stage, and onto the dancer himself. The other dancers become the controllers. As the computer follows them, their movements define the performance zone for the controllee. This zone is projected onto the stage to remind the controllee of his limits, and the computer plays musical accompaniment for him. As the controllee approaches the boundary, the computer mixes noise into the music to warn the controllers and the controllee of his precarious position. If the controllee should break out of the zone, the computer plays another musical track alerting the controllers to recontain the situation.
The surveillance system for the performance uses a video camera to watch the dancers, and a hybrid of image and motion tracking to decide how many dancers are on stage, which are controllers, which are controllees, their positions, and their relationships to each other. It then draws the cross-hair over the controllee, draws the performance zone, and determines which music to play.
The system takes advantage of the stage built by Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio. The stage includes "a 45° semi-transparent mirror, suspended above the stage as a mechanism refracting video projection. (The use of both the mirror and live video are particularly poignant with regard to the pathological body, as they are disciplinary apparatuses used in surveilling misbehaved bodies as well as therapeutic devices used in "correcting" them.)" (Diller + Scofidio in the catalog to "Moving Target"). The observation system both watches the dancers through this mirror, and projects the graphics onto the stage using the mirror. The audience sees both the dancers on stage, and the mixture of the dancers and the graphics mixed in the mirror image.
Moving Targets: Virtual Cage was developed by Kirk Woolford in collaboration with Elizabeth Diller, Ricardo Scofidio, and Charleroi Danses.