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The Builders Association and dbox, SUPER VISION: RHYTHMIC STRUCTURE

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: It is very interesting because you have a strong musical background. Do you think in terms of rhythmic structures? Because there are certainly very different elements that seem to be tied together by the rhythmic structure.

Marianne Weems: Absolutely. It is partly my training, but also Dan Dobson’s sound is the underpinning, the emotional foundation of the whole piece and also each scene. The sound is in ‘dialog’ with the content of each scene – not just reinforcing what the audience ‘should feel’. It is also is something that fills and drives the scene so that when we are rehearsing we really can’t stand to run any rehearsal without the music. Which, of course, drives Dan Dobson insane because he has to have something basic to lay down at the very beginning of rehearsal But it is a very important part of sustaining feeling and focus in these rehearsals, and also of course why the sound is so thoroughly integrated with the video and with the performances. Everything is scored to the music, and Dan is constantly changing and adding based on what happens in rehearsal.

I used to play the viola, I was in a quartet and I studied composition. But it is not that I think of that consciously. I think that my obsession with threading things together comes from that to some extent, but it’s not a conscious connection.

Nick Kaye: No, but one of the things that you are clearly able to do is to bring to people with a very strong sense of their own work together to create something which is very coherent – which is synthesised. I wonder if the capacity to think of things in terms of those structures is one of the things that permits or facilitates these strong collaborations.

Marianne Weems:That could be because there is something about composing discrete lines into these larger movements, where they are not expected to mould into each other or merge. Each line of information is very discrete, each part of the picture. Perhaps that’s partly why we also manage to do this with a variety of different types of egos, because I think people still feel that their contribution is has some internal consistency, but is being staged in relation to a bigger frame of other material.

Nick Kaye: So the contributions have identity, but they work with each other. Constance DeJong was describing it as a series of structures that nest, one into the other.

Marianne Weems:I guess that is one way of looking at it. I think it is really about what takes primacy at what time – at each point. At one point in the show, I think you could say: OK, this is really about the visual, and this was really about the sound – or there the text stood out a little more. But so they are not always in the same dynamic.

Nick Kaye: No, they are not. But they do very consistently draw you through the narrative, or modulate the narratives in relation to each other.

Marianne Weems:Well, my constant cry in rehearsal is trying to focus on what the meaning of that particular moment is - and to make everything come into alignment with that. It is about constantly coming back to what you are trying to say in that section, in that moment.

Nick Kaye: In relation to the live performance of technology, I recall that John Cage said of his early electronic music - which he could clearly have run on tape - that you must always play it live, because when it is live it gains presence.

Norman Frisch: Although I don’t think she publicly references him a lot, Cage is a huge influence on Marianne’s aesthetic and also, I think, her working strategies, because Cage was responding all the time to collaborators whose needs were utterly distinct. I think that is one of the things that Marianne is carrying on - it is something in the spirit of those Cage, Cunningham, and Rauschenberg collaborations - although, in certain ways, they took the easy way out and Marianne is choosing not to do that. Young artists today are weaned on that simultaneity, they are able to master it, or at least move through that very early in their development. By the time they are 30 years old it is the coordination that interests them more than the space between.

see also: collaboration and development | interactivity | musicality | soundscape |


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