Camera Lucida: Interactive Video/Music and Dance

Dancer/Performance Artist, Jamie Lynn Smith testing out her costume with the video projections at a Camera Lucida rehearsal. December, 2012.
Dancer/Performance Artist, Jamie Lynn Smith testing out her costume with the video projections at a Camera Lucida rehearsal.  December, 2012.

Dancer/Performance Artist, Jamie Lynn Smith testing out her costume with the video projections at a Camera Lucida rehearsal. December, 2012.

In a previous post I talked about one of my latest projects, a Community New Music group called the Mothership Ensemble.  This post is about another new project I also co-founded with Roxell Karr.  We call ourselves Camera Lucida, and it’s an artistic collaboration incorporating live interactive video and music for dancers and movement artists.  One of the big inspirations motivating us in doing this is by an Australian Modern/Experimental Dance troupe, Chunky Move–especially a piece they do with interactive video, called Mortal Engine.

While we haven’t gotten to the level of sophistication of what Chunky Move do, we are having a blast exploring the genre and live performance software (mainly Isadora) and hardware.  While I don’t deal specifically with the video side, both Roxell and I constantly talk about ideas and experiment with them as he gets new equipment.  Since we work with dancers and movement artists we also do alot of brainstroming with them before events (or after, as the case may be).

Our first show, in Madison Wisconsin with dancer, Christine Olson, was great fun.  As always, when dealing with electronic equipment of any sort (I used a number of effects, pedals as well as several different mics tied to different effects set up for maximum stereo separation in the space) there’s also a level of frustration.  Sometimes, things just don’t work the way you intend, and that is fine.  In fact, that can create wonderfully unexpected things during the live performance!  Here’s a short excerpt of that performance (the whole piece was 45 minutes):

We’ll be testing out some new things this Saturday in Indianapolis at an event which will also feature another of my recent projects, Secondhand, which is a Steam Noir/Goth duo I do with a dancer in the Indianapolis area.  Next month, we’re planning a tribute event in honor of cellist, Charlotte Moorman, and video artist, Nam June Paik (our artistic predecessors) with Jamie Lynn Smith with whom we’ve performed in December (see photo at the top of this post).  We’re calling that show, “Zen for Cello,” and hope to turn it into a regularly touring event.

Charlotte Moorman playing Nam June Paik's TV Cello.

Charlotte Moorman playing Nam June Paik’s TV Cello.

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