The Wexner Center for the Arts and Performance Space 122 are co-producing my second project, Gin&”It”. The world premiere will be March '10 at Wexner followed by the NY premiere in May '10 at PS 122.
Currently, during a five-month residency at EYEBEAM Art & Technology Center, I’m developing the video score and project specific software that will run the technical elements of the piece. Beginning Oct. ’09, during a nine-week residency at 3LD Art & Technology Center, I will complete the integration of video installation and live performance.
ROPE, Alfred Hitchcock’s 1948 film, is the source material for this piece. Based on the Leopold and Loeb murder, the story is of two young men who murder a friend just for a thrill. They then host a dinner party for friends and family of the victim, serving the main course on the trunk that is hiding the corpse.
Working with the Warner Bros. Archive and the University of Southern California, I have collected the final screenplay containing Hitchcock’s notes, the scale plan of the set, and photos of the making of the film.
All this information allows me to project the film onto a stage the exact size of the original film set. Five performers, representing the film crew, will capture the projected images on film equipment such as: C-stands, flags, lighting units, and wild walls.
Utilizing the editing technique I developed for The Wooster Group’s HAMLET, I will separate the performers in the film from their backgrounds, creating multiple planes of video. Similar to my directorial debut, THE PASSION PROJECT, I’m developing software that will allow these images (the actors from the film) to be placed on stage relative to their original positions according to the scale plan of the set.
Relationship to Proposal
THE PASSION PROJECT (TPP) is an integration of projected image and live performance. It compresses the timeline of Carl Dreyer’s 1928 film “The Passion of Joan of Arc” and intersects it with the history behind the making of the film, a discussion with a Danish archivist, and the story of Joan of Arc.
I’m expanding the software developed to run TPP to accomplish the challenges presented by Gin & It. I’m programming software to run HD video and network over multiple computers, using projected images to reconstruct all occurrences in the murderers apt. I’ll mix 10 independent video sources over a space 24 ft sq. to construct the video environment, expanding on the 5 sources and 10 ft sq. environment used in TPP.
Working with the Warner Bros. Archive and USC has allowed me to gather all available archival material on the making of ROPE. I will use Hitchcock’s final shoot script, containing his notes on staging/camera action, as the blueprint for my own stage action. Using the scale drawing of the film set as my guide to size and place the projected characters as Alfred Hitchcock directed them in 1948, will recreate the staging of the 1st historical attempt to film an entire movie in one take.
Unlike Dreyers film, which is constructed from a large number of cuts, I especially chose ROPE because it has none. Hitchcock’s vision was to make a film in only one camera shot as if he were filming a stage play.
I’ll be using Hitchcock’s narrative rhythm as my main theme and intersecting it with the choreography of the camera and the film crew. My technique used in TPP allows me to explore the untold story of the technical ballet occurring off-camera during the making of the film. Blurring the separation between on and off-camera action by projecting the on-camera action (the actors in the film) and staging the off-camera action (the crew making the film) the audience will witness why Alfred Hitchcock called ROPE “an experiment that didn’t work out”.
Gin&”It” is a huge step in my career as an individual artist. It’s an expansion on techniques that I have been developing to integrate projected image with live performance. It also expands on my fascination of utilizing the archival material surrounding a film as a source to build a new work of art.
The success of my directorial debut, TPP has allowed me to maintain the support of PS 122 and 3LD. The noted enthusiasm from artists in the community has enlisted Wexner and EYEBEAM as supporters of my second piece.
The creative commission by Wexner is an incredible opportunity. It is a stepping-stone towards building a larger audience and national touring, which will create an income stream making my work sustainable. EYEBEAM has broadened the exposure of my work by introducing me to galleries and museums in the NY area.
I pride myself on understanding all of the technical elements that I utilize to create my work, while still striving to make the work larger than myself. I have a unique blend of technical ingenuity and artistic training. This is combined with a desire to share my obsession with adapting current technology to innovate new forms of performance.
My theater training enables me to utilize collaboration to expand the scope of my productions. Currently at Eyebeam I have a staff of seven intern editors whom I’m training to use After Effects and Photoshop to accomplish the immense amount of rotoscoping necessary to create the video score. I am also training two other interns to program in Max and Jitter.
To be able to fully express my vision, it is essential for me to be a self-producing artist. The last ten years working in New York Theater have been an apprenticeship, particularly the seven years I spent working with The Wooster Group. In this time I have grown into a teacher and an artist with a unique vision. I feel that I have the ability to direct and complete a project as vast and technically challenging as Gin&”It”.
The early work on Gin&”It” began in Nov ‘08 with researching into the history behind the making of ROPE at the Warner Bros Archive. Being well received by the archive I was able to locate many essential elements such as Hitchcock’s final shoot script.
Building on the process developed for TPP, I have begun mapping the positions of the characters in the film relative to the scale drawing of the film set. I’m focusing on the 24’ x 24’ living room in the apt. where the majority of the film takes place. I have a projection environment set up to this scale at EYEBEAM.
The residency at EYEBEAM is providing my intern staff and me a professional environment to work on the editing of HD media and the development of the software that will control the projection, lighting, and sound playback for Gin&”It”.
The last two months of my residency at EYEBEAM will be divided into two periods of stimulated development. May will consist of preliminary rehearsals with five performers and three days of showings in late May allowing for feedback from artists in the community. June will be dedicated to completing the software and further editing.
Immediately thereafter I’ll be setting up two editing suites in my personal studio to continue developing the video score with my intern editors until Sept ‘09.
Oct 11 begins my nine-week residency at 3LD. The entirety of this time will be used to complete the production. Three of these weeks will be used for workshop showings at night while rehearsing in the day. This is an opportunity to receive feedback from a new audience. The feedback is essential to sculpt this new form of performance while still staying true to Hitchcock’s “failed” experiment.
The world premiere of Gin&”It” is scheduled for Mar 3 ‘10 at Wexner. Following each performance the company will be offering a talk back with theater and film students, as well as the local community. We have a three-week engagement with PS 122 for the NY Premier in May ‘10.