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Ghostcatching

  • Exhibition

  • May 1999 - October 1999

Ghostcatching by Paul Kaiser and Shelley Eshkar finds its place in the unexpected intersection of dance, drawing, and computer composition. The work was 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 recording the performer’s likeness. Thus, movement is extracted from the performer’s body.

Captured phrases become the building blocks for the virtual composition. As data, the phrases can be edited, re-choreographed, and staged for a digital performance in the three-dimensional space of the computer.

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

So, we may ask: What is human movement abstracted from its original 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?

The artists would like to thank Michael Girard and Susan Amkraut of Unreal Pictures for their guidance and assistance at all levels, and Marco Steinberg for the installation architecture.

Paul Kaiser and Shelley Eshkar, Ghostcatching, 1999

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