Crossroads in the Digital Diaspora
The WSIS Award saluted SMARTlab & partners with the StreetscalledHome show of assistive technology, disability dance, women’s art and the journeys we make in and through the screen:
Tunisia November 16.
An international multi-media, multi-lingual performance piece and integrated animation installation and art show presented at the WSIS Award Ceremony, where world leaders and Industry heads gathered to debate the future of language and cultural issues as represented in new media formats, in the next decade of the Knowledge Economy.
THE WSIS performance slot has been granted for the second time running to SMARTlab UK. This was the only official slot in the entire World Summit Award (WSA) programme in which cultural MAKERS are invited to share their work with world leaders, and to gather feedback on the future funding and representation of that work, in the languages and musical and dance forms of specific cultures (in this case, Irish Culture, Black American Culture and ‘melting pot culture’ in the USA).
The WSA is a world-wide effort to honour the most creative e-Content from all over the world, given the importance of quality contents for the development of the new Global Information Society. The initiative is part of the official agenda and is held in the framework of the World Summit on the Information Society. This year’s event was held in Tunisia on 17-20 November. In addition to taking part in this major performance event, the team contributed to the Keynote Panel with Dr Lizbeth Goodman of SMARTlab and with Dr Akhtar Badshah, Senior Director of Community Affairs and Corporate Responsibility/Giving for the Microsoft Corporation. This shared panel offers international collaborators a chance to make the public case for funding and publication of Irish language music and literature on the world stage and in international software development: a once in a lifetime opportunity!
For this year’s event the WSA assigned Dr Lizbeth Goodman to direct and design a performance. The performance by Dr Goodman and her team is to be a key element of the event and is to represent creativity without barriers.
For the purposes of the Streets Called Home’ project, Dr Goodman has invited (mainly female) artists of several generations and working across genres, from all around the world, to tell their stories and relay their journeys through life. These stories and their unknowing cross-overs, are to be interpreted and represented in a multi-media, multi-cultural, multi-disciplinary performance, which will in turn be captured on a multi-media DVDrom for art gallery installation.
Among the artists whose stories are being told are;
Cliodna Cussen – Irish sculptor and painter
Colm O Snodaigh – Irish language author and musician & KILA
Bobby Byrne – Irish disabled dancer & storyteller
Gayil Nalls –US scent sculptor and film-maker (creator of the UNESCO World Sensorium Project)
Daria Dorosh –Ukraine born visual and textile artist (Future Art Expert at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York)
Aminah Robinson – visual artist and storyteller from US (descended from African slaves: winner of the 2004 MacArthur Genius Award)
Harriet Mayor Fulbright – US social film artist/documentor (widow of Senator Fulbright of the Fulbright Foundation, and Head of their Leadership Think-Tank for future culture)
& Lizbeth Goodman – international author and performer/presenter/director
The performance features a centrepiece dance-duet between two wheelchair dancers: James Brosnan (and artist with Cerebral palsy, from Ireland) and Blair Wing (a paraplegic dancer and performer from the USA).
Other contributors include German videographer Jana Reidel, Korean Interaction Artist Taey Kim, Irish Robotics/Haptics expert Dr Brian Duffy, Haitian web designer Cassandra St Louis, Canadian Production Manager Joy Barrett, Australian Dramaturgue Jane Prendergast, et al.
The performance also includes video, photographic, motion-capture footage and data gathered from Ireland, England, the US and Singapore, with input gathered from many other artists from around the world including Jen Fleanor – Irish-based US dancer/choreographer, Norah Zuniga Shaw – US choreographer, all of whom have taken part in workshops led by Dr Goodman in the course of her eighteen-month world tour (2003-4, funded by the Shell Foundation and Microsoft Community Affairs).
Irish band KÌla were commissioned to compose, record and perform the musical score; Colm O Snodaigh was invited to take the post of Musical Director, not only for the live show at the WSIS Awards, but for the subsequent year-long post-production and Community Awareness tour.
Streets Called Home asks questions of concern to all people in the world today, as we move at faster and faster speeds from place to place, carrying our homes upon our backs and in our (human and computer) memories.
What is the colour of HOME?
What is the scent of HOME?
What is the sound of HOME?
What is the feel of HOME?
What is the taste of HOME?
Who are you when you are at HOME?
What was the one moment in your life when HOME was lost?
What was the one moment in your life when HOME was found?
Is there an animal or creature that would best represent you in a world without humans?
If you could choose to possess a magical or transformative power, what would that be?
Streets called home asks artists all over the world to take part in the same exercise:
Draw a map of the world in the sand and put your current abode in the centre of it. Stand or sit there and then start this journey: walk (or roll) the physical journey between these five different emotional/geographical locations of HOME and remember that it’s fine to keep moving if you can’t precisely define any of these places:
1) Where you were born
2) Where you live now
3) Where your parents were born (this may be a journey between two places, or if you don’t know, this can be an imagined place/location)
4) where you feel safe
5) As Robert Frost wrote: ‘Home is where, when you get there, they always let you in. ‘Where is that place for you?
Move between these five places in sequence, and make a dance of it.
Find the rhythm of your body in those places. Does it change in each? Does it stay in one place longer than another? Find the rhythm and timing and centre of gravity for your body in these places – this is your dance. Find the sound of each place and help us to score that – this is your song.
CREDITS for StreetscalledHome
Written by Lizbeth Goodman, with original poems & songs by James Brosnan, Cheryl L’Hirondelle, Colm O Snodaigh, Ronan O Snodaigh, and Blair Wing.
Irish Music/overall score composed by KILA; performed live by Eoin Dillon, Colm O Snodaigh, and Rossa O Snodaigh (Ireland)
With Original Cree Music and new story adaptations from Native archetypes by Cheryl L’Hirondelle
Dancers/Performers: James Brosnan (Ireland), Bobby Byrne (Ireland), JulieAnna Facelli (Argentina-USA), Lizbeth Goodman (England-USA), Cheryl L’Hirondelle (Canada), Kok Wai Low (Singapore), Jaffar Sidek bin Ahmad (Singapore), Blair Wing (USA) and Palamo Garcia-Bustos (Spain- P.A. to Mr Brosnan)
Conceived & Directed by Lizbeth Goodman (England-USA)
Musical Direction by Colm O Snodaigh (Ireland)
Co-Direction on site in Tunis by Lesley Ferris (USA)
Choreography on site in Tunis by Chrissie Poulter (UK/Ireland)
Production Managed by Joy Barrett (Canada-England)
Line Production on site in Tunis by Erika Leitinger (Austria)
Technical Management by Jose Marinez (USA- Puerto Rico)
Press/WSIS Liaison by Bergit Berger (Austria) and Sheila Robinson (UK-Scotland)
Technology & Responsive Screens Created by:
Cassandra St Louis (USA-Haiti: 3d Globe World Engine)
Marc Price (UK: Virtual Media Lounge)
Taey Kim (Korea: Doors to the Street Interactive System)
Vesna Milanovic (Serbia/former Yugoslavia-UK: PORT system – Performance Online in Real Time motion tracking system)
TheatreofallPossibilities- Kathelin Gray & Rob Shaw (USA/UK – PossibilitySystem with ‘Gold Dust’ and other effects)
Cheryl L’Hirondelle (Canada: extracts from the original TELL Interactive First Nations Story ‘Shack’)
Videography/Camerawork & Editing by Jana Riedel (Germany)
Additional Videography (location shots) by Mouna Hamid (Morocco), Jo Gell (Singapore), Roisin Loughrey and Chrissie Poulter (Ireland), Adrian Brown & Eric Mayer –(Ohio)
Online & Interactive Gallery Curation/Design/Photography by Taey Kim (Korea)
Inflatable Costumes by Andres Ros Soto (Mexico/Spain) and Renee Lindell (Sweden)
With Media Art by: Taey Kim (Korea), Jana Riedel (Germany), Fay Torresyap, (USA), Róisín Loughrey (Ireland), Mouna Hamid (Germany/Morocco), Cassandra St Louis (USA-Haiti), & Cheryl L’Hirondelle (Canada). Motion Capture used in this performance by Peter McClory of SIMULA (UK), with Christoph Bregler of the NYU Movement Group (USA); additional motion capture sessions held at Ohio State University ACCAD studios and at the Phasespace studio on-site at Siggraph 2005 (L.A.).
Contributing Choreographers: Bobby Byrne (Ireland), Keran Ganin (USA), Kok Wai Low (Singapore), Cathy O’Kennedy (Ireland), Norah Zuniga Shaw (USA), Keren Ganin-Pinto (USA).
Contributing Directors: Fatima Amrani Zeriffi (Morocco), Anna Birch (England), Lesley Ferris (USA-England), Chrissie Poulter (Ireland), Jane Prendergast (New Zealand-Singapore), Katie Whitlock (USA), Kathelin Gray (‘USA-UK: Possibility Screen’ Directoral Input).
Dancers/Actors/Artists contributing to the world workshops that led to this performance:
NYU Performance Team: Laura Diffenderfer, Vania Gulston, Patricia Maldonado, Maryvonne Neptune, Megan Nicely, Catherine Romano, Grey Wetzler.
Ohio State University Workshop Team:
Student Participants/Collaborators: Lise Evans, JulieAnna Facelli, Kristin Hapke, Karen Mozingo, Esther Palmer, Tiffany Rhynard, Peter Richards, Megan Schutt, Blair Wing.
Staff participants from the Departments of Theatre, Dance and the ACCAD motion capture group: Norah Maria Palazzi, Brian Windsor, Vita Berenzina-Blackburn, Shawn Hove, Fran Kalal, Josh Huber, Matt Lewis, Elaine Smith, Dave Covey, Sonia Kalamas-Elder.
Visiting Artists Participating in addition to the main SMARTlab team:
Cathy O’Kennedy (Ireland – guest choreographer) & Jen Fleenor (USA/Ireland – dancer).
Singapore Workshop Team: Faralina Ali, Ace Chen, Michelle Chua, Natalie Lazaroo, Kok Wai Low, Wendy Ng, Shilin Ong, Rachel Poh, Pauline Steele, Aaran Tan, Samuel Tay, Wai Yee Wan, Melissa Wee (2004); with Oringa Vathanasin & Jaffar Sidek bin Ahmad (2005).