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William Forsythe, Improvisation Technologies


Interactive installation, interactive CD-ROM and dance film, 1994-2011
Volker Kuchelmeister, Nik Haffner, Chris Ziegler.

A long term collaboration with american born choreographer William Forsythe, contemporary ballet genius and former director of Frankfurt Ballet (1984-2004). Forsythe is recognised as one of the world's foremost choreographers and widely credited with revitalising classical ballet for the twenty-first century. His choreographic vocabulary has redefined body, space, time and movement.

The unique quality of this multi-media training application is with its clear structure, reduced design and simple navigation. It is credited as one of the best implementation of a screen based interactive work ever. It won multiple prestigous awards and was exhibited over 90 time around the world.

Starting in 1994, Volker Kuchelmeister and Chris Ziegler collaborated with Forsythe and the ZKM Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Institute for Visual Media to produce a prototypical interactive application to visualise and explain Forsythe's improvisation techniques to a wider audience. This prototype The loss of small detail, was very well received and subsequently the ZKM, Frankfurt Ballet and the German Dance Archive in Cologne (Deutsches Tanzarchiv Köln) funded the production of a large scale "digital dance school" in the form of an interactive computer installation for professional dancers. This version was released in 1996 as Improvisation Technologies. Self Meant to Govern.

In over 100 video lectures, Forsythe explains the key principles of his vocabulary. These video lectures are augmented with computer generated and animated shapes, forms and figures to illustrate Forsythe's improvisation techniques and theoretical principles. Cross references to moments in actual stage performances and demonstrations from Frankfurt Ballet company dancers, improvising on the theory lecture themes, close the circle reaching from theory to practice. This conceptual framework proofed to be very effective as a didactical tool.

In 1999 the Improvisation Technologies was released as an interactive CD-ROM with book Improvisational Technologies. A Tool for the Analytical Dance Eye. This edition features some 60 video chapters in which Forsythe demonstrates and comments upon the essential principles of his motional language. Examples, danced by members of the Frankfurt Ballet, can be called up as required. Also included is a solo performance by Forsythe, filmed in 1996 by Thomas Lovell Balogh. The CD-ROM was later published in Japan and the english version is as of October 2011 in its 3rd edition.



“On the CD-ROM, Forsythe gives us keys to the base of his improvisation methods, opening a broader realm of understanding and appreciation of his achievement. Furthermore, the creators of the CD-ROM themselves have developed a methodology of description—a unique design interface—that effectively embodies and elucidates these improvisation technologies. This makes the CD-ROM a Forsythian work in its own right, in which his associates (dancers, designers, programmers, and editors) perform under his direction with the semantic and sensuous virtuosity that distinguishes his choreographical work.” Jeffrey Shaw, 1999
  Highslide JS
Improvisation Technologies prototype 1994. structure with performance and theory sections

Slideshow


In 2011, the Forsythe Company commissioned Kuchelmeister, Ziegler and Haffner to produce a filmic version with selected video lectures in a higher quality then what was possible back in 1996. This version Lectures from Improvisation Technologies is to be shown in museums and exhibitions and is currently (October 2011) exhibited at the Centre Pompidou Paris and the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston.


Video Improvisation Technologies. A Tool for the Analytical Dance Eye.

For more videos, click here


Improvisation Technologies,project timeline:
• 1994, Prototype, The loss of small detail.
• 1996, Installation, Self Meant to Govern.
• 1999, CD-ROM Publication, Improvisation Technologies. A Tool for the Analytical Dance Eye.
• 2011, Film, Lectures from Improvisation Technologies.

Awards for Improvisation Technologies:
• Bronze Award, Interactive Media Design Review, I.D. Magazine, New York, 2000
• Honorary Mention (Special Prize), Prix Moebius Germany, Marstall Muenchen, Munich, 1999
• Winner New Voices, New Visions, New York. Wired Magazine, Interval Research & Voyager, 1996
• Honorary Mention Artec , Nagoya [JP], 1995

Exhibitions (excerpt): Frankfurt Ballet in permanent collection, Tanz Archiv Cologne in permanent collection, ZKM Karlsruhe in permanent collection, Imaging Media @ ZKM Karlsruhe 2009-2011, designS Strasbourg 2003, ArtFuture Festival Taipei 2000, Festival Internacional de Linguagem Eletrônica São Paulo 2000, Milia Cannes 2000, transmediale Berlin 2000, International biennial of electronic arts Rome 1999,  EuroPrix Gala Tampere 1999,  Choreography Festival Museum of Modern Art Santiago de Chile 1999,  Cross Fair Tanz und neue Technologien Oberhausen  1999,  European Festival of Contemporary Dance Moscow 1999,  Seoul Cyber Film Festival 1999, BUG Melbourne International Film Festival 1999,  Dance Screen Deutsches Tanzarchiv Cologne 1999, 1st International Festival of Film and New Media on Art Athens 1998,  Anticipation Version 4 Saint-Gervais Geneva 1998, Synthèse-Festival Bourges 1997, Mostra Videodansa Canal Dansa Barcelona 1997, ACM Boston 1996,  Connecting Bodies Amsterdam 1996, ... .
Lectures from Improvisation Technologies: Centre Pompidou Paris, Nov 23 2011 - April 2 2012; The Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, October 7 2011 - January 16 2012.
full list of exhibitions ...

Publication intercative CD-ROM and book:
William Forsythe. Improvisation Technologies - A Tool For The Analytical Dance Eye.
Volker Kuchelmeister, Chris Ziegler, Nik Haffner.
ZKM digital arts edition, published by Hatje Cantz Stuttgart. 3rd edition Oct 2011.
Deutsches Tanzarchiv Köln/SK Stiftung Kultur, texts by Roslyn Sulcas, Nik Haffner, Volker Kuchelmeister, Christian Ziegler, interview with the English, 2011. c. 120 pp., 13.70 x 19.10 cm, CD-ROM with booklet, ISBN 978-3-7757-2184-4.

Prototype, 1994
Loss of small Detail
Installation, 1996
Self Meant to Govern
CD-ROM, 1999
A Tool for the Analytical Dance Eye.
Film, 2011
Lectures from Improvisation Technologies.


main menu
theory menu. all interface elements are derived from the content.
theory example, imagine lines in space. the video is superimposed with computer graphic.
theory example laban model
theory example, dragging points. the video is superimposed with computer graphic.
theory example, drawing. the video is superimposed with computer graphic.
performance section Loss of small detail. three points of view on the stage are available. More information on particular solos or combos can be accessed through the links on the bottom on the screen.
performance section Loss of small detail. three points of view on the stage are available. More information on particular solos or combos can be accessed through the links on the bottom on the screen.
performance section Loss of small detail. three points of view on the stage are available. More information on particular solos or combos can be accessed through the links on the bottom on the screen.
studio and stage rehearsal footage in chronological order
studio and stage rehearsal footage in chronological order
studio and stage rehearsal footage in chronological order
Improvisation Technologies Installation 1995. structure with performance and theory sections. this version was/is used by dancers in the ballet frankfurt (under bill forsythe).
Improvisation Technologies main menu. theory chapters around the clock, the clock is an element from the performance Self meant to Govern
theory video rotation inscriptions . one out of 120.
stage example rotating inscriptions
rehearsal example rotating inscriptions
rotating inscriptions in the context of the performance
four points of views are available, the user can interactively switch between them
four points of views are available, the user can interactively switch between them
Improvisation Technologies CD-ROM structure. main menu, theory, demonstration and solo
packaging with booklet
title screen
main menu
main menu
main menu
main menu
theory screen
access through list menu
demonstration screen
demonstration screen
demonstration screen
bill forsythe solo performance
help screen