BINARY BALLISTIC BALLET / 1995
Award of distinction at Ars Electronica 1995
Michael Saup, in cooperation with William Forsythe, the Artistic Director of the Frankfurt Ballet, created a stage simulation with monitors that provided computer-animated abstract terms as pictorial improvisation directions, visible only to the dancers. The dancers danced to a digital program, though the audience could not see this. Not until intermission were the latter informed of the connection between direction and performance, abstraction and concretion. The dance piece remained a computer-supported performance, a digital, i.e. binary program, that nevertheless produced no multimedia surface.
Together with dancers of the Frankfurter Ballett, Saup filled a database with words that appeared on video screens as colourful and lithely moving series of letters, controlled by music, during a performance of William Forsythe’s Eidos Telos choreography. The choreography was largely determined but the dancers had the freedom to move their bodies in response to phrases like ‘Rotating Description’ or simple words like ‘Crack’ or ‘Pizza’. A beautiful synthesis of the real and computer generated spaces was realised by having a camera capture images of the dancers and mixing those with the spatial dance of the virtual letters on the screens.
The middle piece of the choreography that premiered in Frankfurt in January 1995 highlighted computer generated shapes of light and their slowly dying light trails. Like silent virtual dancers they shot through space on a video screen controlled by the clear sounds of a female voice.