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The Builders Association and dbox, SUPER VISION: PROJECTION

SUPER VISION tells three stories

1. As he crosses successive borders, a solitary traveller gradually is forced to reveal all of his personal information, until his identity becomes transparent, with no part of his life left outside the boundaries of datasurveillance.

2. A young woman (Jen), addicted to the white noise of constant connection, maintains a long-distance relationship with her Grandmother. As she makes efforts to digitally archive her Grandmother's past, the Grandmother slips into senility.

3. A father covertly exploits his young son's personal data to meet the demands of the family's lifestyle. This ploy escalates beyond the father's control, until he is compelled to disappear. His wife and son are left with a starkly diminished data portrait, and his escape is shadowed by the long reach of the datasphere.

Marianne Weems

Nick Kaye: I think the combination of different kinds of projection in SUPER VISION, is very interesting. In the family scene you have, simultaneously, a room that is entirely a simulation rendered by dbox and the film recording of a real garden, projected so that you can see it through the windows and doors of the synthetic architecture. This seems to me important to the way the performers were integrated into the scene - and in relation to the theatre lighting. In the family scenes, it seemed as if the performers had a certain sort of luminosity that brought them into relationship to the light coming from the video.So we see different qualities of projection and light that plays between the real bodies of the performers and the simulated environment that they are in.

Uploaded Image
Onstage, left to right: Kyle deCamp (Carol),
David Pence (John Fletcher Sr.).
Video still.

Marianne Weems: That’s very true. In the family scenes, there is a nice layering of the real body and then the completely manufactured living room environment, and then the real photographed environment (the ‘back yard’) seen out the windows behind them. And of course there’s the insertion of the video boy actor moving between the animated and the photographed environments –- and the live actors relate to the video boy as he moves between those various planes.

Nick Kaye: And the projection of the boy in front of the real performers.

Uploaded Image
Onstage, left to right: Kyle deCamp (Carol);
Owen Philip (John Fletcher Jr.) in projection.
Video still.

James Gibbs

Nick Kaye: In JET LAG there was a direct juxtaposition between the people in front of the screen, whereas SUPER VISION creates a more fluid, developing exchange between the performers and the screen. So in the traveller’s scenes Rizwan Mirza begins to disappear into the screen and comes into exchange with projected images of himself.

James Gibbs: Absolutely, absolutely. I think you know that Stewart Laing was intimately involved with a lot of the conversations about the project before coming up with suggestions for the set designs - and these two great freedoms that he gave us are being able to enmesh the performer in front and back projection. Then the other great freedom is to be able to create the front projection screen as a moveable, motorised set of screens, so enabling the choreography between the physical set, the screens, and the performers. So I think that what you are talking about comes directly out of the freedoms in his set. It creates all of these possibilities.

Allen Hahn

Nick Kaye: It is a very complex situation to light, with video projection for front and back.

Allen Hahn: Yes and no. I mean it’s difficult, but complex - not especially – you’re left to making a choice within one plane. You are left to make choice in a 180-degree arc about where someone is lit from. And just as the nature of the space limits the angle of the light and the extent to which you are able to light the figure in physical terms, then the projection is the primary constraint on the colour, because whether you are playing with the projection or against it there is always projection. So you have to pull back to some minimal statement in color, angle, and in fact I don’t know if the lighting looks terribly different from one scene to the next within each story. The question is where does the design part of the lighting design begin? You have these severe limitations and I think the freedom comes in establishing the level of physical presence against the projections, which is to say the brightness or whether something is brighter or dimmer from one scene to the next. To a lesser degree colour shifts play a role and then in getting from one point to another. I mean, you know, all of the realistic scenes between the family are lit at the same general level. But when we see Kyle deCamp (Carol) alone at the end she comes up very quickly to a level we haven’t seen before, a very bright level which is I think it is just an indicator of where she is now and I don’t think it telegraphs the moment emotionally - but the scene starts off very strong and the light starts off very strong and as she pulls back and starts speaking to and about her husband who's deserted her the light falls back to her to a level more like that we have seen until she fades away and becomes a silhouette against that final video.

Uploaded Image
Onstage: Kyle deCamp (Carol).
Photo by dbox

Allen Hahn: Actually it is really exciting to be able to invest so much of one's attention and energy in such subtle aspects of the lighting and how it works. In a typical tech situation in this country you have a week and a half from the time you focus the lights until there is an audience and you have a bigger show, or bigger space or a level of complexity so much greater that you can’t really give the attention to the subtleties of the timing which is the primary element the light can still play with here.


Allen Hahn: One of my chief complaints about other companies who use large-screen projection is that you often can’t see the performers, because the projection is deemed more important. I have seen concert presentations of operas using video projection where I am kind of squinting and thinking, “why aren’t I just home watching the DVD and listening to the recording?” Because I don't feel like I'm there in the room with the performers for not being able to see them clearly.

Tanya Selvaratnam

Nick Kaye: Working within the set itself, where the projections create the scene, are you able to get a sense of the whole of that space?

Tanya Selvaratnam: No, not at all. Moe Angelos can look up to the stage, but I can’t look down. It’s funny - when I am running lines with her and looking at her it is a completely different experience. It is almost better for me not to do that because you act with somebody differently when you can see their eyes.

see also: costume | the family room | the virtual boy | virtual spaces | mediation |


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Page last modified by nk Sun Feb 18/2007 14:56