MA
hypertext dissertation - by Robyn Stuart

Technology and Art Intertwined with Rhizomes

In Rhizomes, my work in creating the Pc with the dancers is also intimately intertwined with the technology and the scientific process or 'know that' process. The Pc and Vc create a whole picture together which portray to a viewer much more than the separate parts (a characteristic of complex systems). For example, in the Schizo Phrase the Vc moves in the same direction as the dancer’s general line of energy expression and this allows the Vc to appear to be pushed around by the dancer in an illogical manner for an environment. While in Trio Pendulum Swing the Vc continually moves through the 3D model with both dancers and model being in orientational agreement such that the effect is of the dancers travelling distances despite hardly moving from centre stage. The technology affects the whole creative product. In each scene the Vc must be animated in relation to the Pc, but the Pc also is crafted and refined adapting to any limitations of the Vc. For example, The Pc of the Schizo phrase had to change direction much more significantly between bites of movement in order that the Vc would also be seen to change direction significantly. Otherwise a viewer would not perceive the Vc changing. Curson and I spent much time in phase I of the MA 'scientifically investigating basic Pc-Vc relationships following a route of expanding our "knowing that" into Kauffman's (1996, 2000) "adjacent possible".

The whole structure of Rhizomes has been crafted with both scientific and artistic processes. It has evolved from 'playful' research intentions rather than from a vision of producing a specific creative product. We recorded all of the scenes created in the first 4 weeks of research and prior to finalizing a structure for Rhizomes III, I played ' a complex game' of combining the scenes in a myriad of ways with a myriad of rules (Rhizomopoly: A Game of Rhizomes). This was analogous to playing a computerised evolution game (Lucas, 1996a, 1997a, 2004e, Quote 32).

Each time I played the game, scene-transition and scene-intercutting solutions for the previous games became a 'gene pool' from which I selected and perhaps mutated further in order to play the current game. Both recombination and mutation of these solutions were used to fulfill the current games criteria and from this process emerged new, even more complex, structures of Rhizomes. By 'knowing that' from previous games, I could through play of the current game experience a bodily 'know'-how'. This was much more than an 'understanding from the head'; it was perhaps an understanding of the undermind (Claxton, 1998); it felt like a whole-body / visceral understanding of an aesthetic direction. The process of doing, albeit with computer editing and a 'pack of cards', helped me 'feel' how I could shuffle/recombine scenes and mutate rules to create structures that were increasingly becoming a piece with its own 'narrative' voice 'above and beyond' the 'narratives' within each separate scene.

Complexity of the piece increased but concomitantly an order was emerging..

Kaiser (1988a & 1988b, 2004) in discussing 'Motion Flow Networks' and a piece of technological art called Menagerie (see also McKenzie, 1994) noted that these art-works were based on mathematical rules which could not be too few and simplistic otherwise the system became too predictable, but nor could the rules be too many otherwise chaos would ensue. A mixture of ordered complexity provided an aesthetic beauty to the pieces. This same level of ordered complexity was what I was searching to portray in Rhizomes III. And this ordered complexity lies on the edge of chaos where exploration of the ‘adjacent possible’ occurs at a maximum rate without succumbing to disorder.

When 'researching' from an artistic perspective, understandings and judgements (McKenzie and James, 2004) are often reached through a bodily process or from an intuitive (undermind, Claxton 1998)) sense.


1.1.2 Home Page, 'Beginning', Conclusion, Acknowledgements, References, Rhizomes Performances, Performances as References




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