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Thursday, December 9, 2010

DBG Artistic Choices

Sorry for the delay in posting - back and forth with some documentation, and I had to help get the Vizzie stuff shipped for Cycling '74. Now, back to the DBG discussion.

One of the things that public artists constantly have to do is to balance their own perspectives with those of the viewing public. This is less significant when you have carte blanche on the project - but this seldom comes along unless you are already a name brand, or you are paying for the positioning of your work.

In our case, we wanted to do some highly abstract work (particularly the pixel slide system of feedback), but also needed to properly nod to the work of the great Henry Moore - the artist whose work we were celebrating. How do you mix this weird combo?

The first step was to map out the direction. We (Jim and Katie from the dance company and me) decided to start with very geometric and textural content, move to the totally abstract and flowing pixel slide, then move to large-form photos of the work at the "stage" end of the room. The movement from geometric to textural was mitigated by something suggested by Jim and Katie: using cubes with a more representational image on them. The differentiation between the large geometry and the small representation (in this case, of feet walking through the gardens) lent the whole thing an odd feeling that made the abstract feedback much more natural.

The harder transition was from feedback flow to large-form pictures. What we ended up doing was a two-fold change. First, the image displays moved from all four corners to just the "front" two corners, essentially blacking out the back two displays. This caused all of the attention to move in the direction of the final dance movement. Secondly, we went from our feedback display to a flowing fall leave scene that used a new color palette. This signaled a transition in content - and in representationalism. Finally, we dissolved that into pixelated blocks while the main screen came up with the photos, with slow pans across the statuary, that signaled our nod to the Moore sculptures.

Hard to describe, but the effect was a multi-level change in color palette, representation, location and direction of focus, dance formation and sound. While any one of these might have seemed forced, the combination worked to maintain a focus on the dancers while fulfilling the need for "Big Media" displays.


Note: Thanks to Kevin Maloney, photographer extraordinaire, for the photos used in this blog posting. He did a great job documenting the performance and setup; I and others will be using more of his work to show off the performance. Needless to say, the docs on the production would be much poorer were he not involved.

Wanna see more great photography? Check out his website at: