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Prix 1987 - 2007

ORF Oberösterreich

Shelley Eshkar, Ralph Jones , Paul Kaiser

Ghostcatching is a virtual dance collaboration created by digital artists Paul Kaiser and Shelley Eshkar in collaboration with dancer/choreographer Bill T. Jones. Kaiser and Eshkar made the visual and sound composition; Jones choreographed and performed the dance. In addition, Michael Girard and Susan Amkraut (authors of the Character Studio software) corrected the motion capture data and contributed to the choreographic composition.

Ghostcatching finds its place in the unexpected intersection of dance, drawing, and computer composition. The work is made possible by advances in motion capture, a technology that tracks sensors attached to a moving body. The resulting data files reflect the position and rotation of the body in motion, without preserving the performer’s mass or musculature. Thus, movement is extracted from the performer’s body.

Captured phrases become the building blocks for the virtual composition. As data, the phrases are edited, re-choreographed, and staged for a digital performance in the 3D space of the computer.

Here, the body of Bill T. Jones is multiplied into many dancers, who perform as three-dimensional drawings. Their anatomies are intertwinings of drawn strokes, which are in fact painstakingly modeled as geometry on the computer—never drawn on paper.

So, we may ask: What is human movement in the absence of the body? Can the drawn line carry the rhythm, weight, and intent of physical movement? What kind of dance do we conceive in this ghostly place, where enclosures, entanglements, and reflections vie with the will to break free?