An improvised film-performance with a live band and live narration.
ISEA2006/ZeroOne San Jose Festival and the Canadian Film Centre’s Habitat New Media Lab presents… “la rèpétition générale” of Junkyard of Dreams, Michael Lew’s latest improvised film performance about the tension between imaginary Hollywood and street life Hollywood, seen through the eyes of a French urban anthropologist. The recent years have witnessed an impressive surge of new live visual practices, enabled by the computer’s ability to manipulate high definition images in real time. Like sound has transformed film, today the ability to store an entire film on a hard disk means that it can be edited on the fly. Michael Lew has built a machine that allows him to do precisely this, halfway between a visual music instrument and a novel motion picture editing tool.
The filmmaker arrives at the venue with all the footage on a disk and assembles the film in front of the audience as a live performance. Narrative intelligence and database design are programmed in such a way that the computer keeps track of the progression of the story, while leaving improvisational freedom to the interpreters.
This process brings back the filmmaker in touch with the audience. The film’s narrator is the filmmaker who talks live in the microphone. Some of the actors might even be present in the audience and manifest themselves. The extradiegetic music and some sound effects are played live by a small band on stage.
Junkyard of Dreams requires us to see interactive cinema in multimodal terms – as an experience that hovers between jazz, interactive film and non-linear programming.
Co-presented by Habitat New Media Lab at the Canadian Film Centre and curated by its director, Ana Serrano, ISEA2006 presents The Performative Cinema Programme. This three day line up will bring together creators from around the world who are at the forefront of this emerging form. From master filmmaker Peter Greenaway to emerging talent such as Morten Schjodt and Michael Lew, the Performative Programme at ISEA will display various ways in which cinematic narratives are constructed within the interactive medium. With the director as the main interactor or performer, audiences will experience cinema in an entirely new way.
HABITAT NEW MEDIA LAB at the Canadian Film Centre
Established by acclaimed filmmaker Norman Jewison, the Canadian Film Centre created Habitat New Media Lab in 1997 as a collaborative, production-based learning, and research environment where diverse teams push the evolution of art and entertainment.
Based on a cycle of training, production and research, Habitat is an internationally acclaimed facility that has produced award-winning new media prototypes ranging from simulation-based interactive documentaries, to wireless storytelling networks, to interactive short films and narrative-driven media installations.
- Michael Lew