Unauthorized is a collaboration between dance/theatre artist Kathryn Ricketts (as Rufus), video artist Simon Overstall, composer Arne Eigenfeldt, and an ensemble of intelligent musical agents.
In Unauthorized, we draw a parallel to the work of Samuel Beckett, which echoes the profound absurdity often found in clowning. In this rich collaboration, we explore new ways to approach narrative, character, setting, and props; Rufus – a tired clown that struggles to find humour in dissonance – becomes a catalyst for fractured narratives and new ways of making meaning through performance.
In the telling, we trigger more stories, which fosters a sense of collective belonging by the nature of their commonalities and subsequent empathy.
Musebots – intelligent musical agents designed by Arne Eigenfeldt – respond to Rufus’ voice and movement through realtime analysis, creating a synergistic play between sound, text, and video, adding a richness of the creative choices and subsequent provocations. Aware of each movement’s text, the musebots respond, provoke, and influence Rufus’ movement and speech choices, as well as determining certain structural choices in the work itself.
The performance below was presented at the Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, Simon Fraser University, on October 12, 2019.
Videography by Lara Amelie Abadir
Introduction: this movement uses music by Edvard Grieg, and the musebots decide how to orchestrate it based upon live movement analysis.
The Unnameable: This movement uses text from Beckett’s The Unnameable. Musebots respond and answer Rufus’ speech, becoming more animated the more she moves.
Moments: Musebots generate a structure, using moment-form, which determines their activity, complexity, speed, consistency, and volume. The displayed text’s speed and size uses these parameters, and Kathryn (as Kathryn) freely reacts.
Buckets of Beckett: Rufus speaks 11 possible texts, and musebots react to her volume and timbre in different ways.
Building: Musebots generate an unfolding musical structure in two parts, for piano and marimba. Two separate video processes align with this unfolding, as two video musebots select from pre-recorded video to create a limited set of movement gestures. Two additional musebots display an unfolding text from phrases Rufus has already spoken, as well as generating new text (using Markov chains) from Beckett’s The Unnameable. Rufus freely (re)interprets the displayed movement gestures.
Memory: A final summing up; Rufus addresses the audience, while the musebots present some of the text spoken in the performance, both visually and audibly.