[ISEA2006] Artists Statement: Troika Ranch – 16[R]evolutions

Artists Statement

San Jose Repertory Theater

About 16[R]evolution:                                                                                                                                “As with all of our recent works, 16[R]evolutions began with a single word: evolution. Our original notion was to trace an evolutionary path from a single cell to our current state. But as our research continued, we began to focus simply on the polarity between two states of being: animal and intellectual. The animal being appears brutal in its survival tactics, but maintains a pure and heightened awareness of its surroundings. ïhe intellectual being has repressed the wild animal drives to allow social order, often to the point of abject disconnection. But, the need to reconnect with our animal instincts is in us (as evidenced perhaps by the popularity of reality television programs that provide a banal simulation of the evolutionary path toward dominance.) ln the end, 16[R]evolutions is our personal reflection on the positive and negative aspects of our animal/intellectual selves”. _Mark Coniglio, Artistic Director, Troika Ranch

About the Technology:                                                                                                                           Real-time motion tracking allows the dancers to interactively manipulate the digital media as they perform 16 [R]evolutions. The tracking system is a low-tech version of the motion capture technology used for Hollywood movies. Using a single camera pointed at the stage, free software called EyesWeb creates a twelve-point ‘skeleton’ that fllows the silhouette of the dancer’s bodies. The position and trajectory of each point is passed to Isadora, the real-time media manipulation software designed by Artistic Director Mark Coniglio. Isadora generates the visuals and manipulates aspects of the sonic score by interpreting the movements of the skeleton, allowing an intimate linkage between performer and media.

Sound Credits:                                                                                                                                                In the evolutionary spirit of this work the music in 16 [R]evolutions was built, in part, from numerous sound samples gathered from the Internet. Several of these were placed under a Creative Commons license, an important new way for creators from all métiers to indicate how others may use their works. For more information on Creative Commons, visit   creativecommons.org.

16 [R]evolutions Open Source:                                                                                                                  So that the evolution of the materials in this work may continue, dance phrases and sound samples created for this work will be made available under a Creative Commons license starting in September 2006.

  1. Music: Mark Coniglio
  2. Video: Mark Coniglio with Dawn Stoppiello
  3. Lighting Design: Susan Hamburger
  4. Set Design: Joel Sherry
  5. Costumes: Dawn Stoppiello
  6. Dramaturgy: Peter Salis
  7. Performed by: Johanna Lelry, Daniel Suominen, Lucia Tong and Ben Wegman
  8. Choreography: Dawn Stoppiello, in collaboration with the performers

Troika Ranch was founded in 1994 and is the collaborative vision of Dawn Stopiello and Mark Coniglio. The company has performed extensively throughout the United States and internationally at the Monaco Dance Forum, Monte Carlo, Monaco, essexdance and TheJunction, in England and the Figuren Theater Festival and at the Forum Neues Musiktheater, in Germany. Troika Ranch’s work Future of Memory was awarded the 2003 Time Out New York Dance Audience “Bessie” Award in New York City and an Honorable Mention at the 2004 Prix Ars Electronica CyberArts Competition in Linz, Austria. The company was awarded an “Eddy” award from Entertainment Design magazine inJune 2005 for their achievements in
“bridging the gap between the artist and technology”. Troika Ranch Artistic Directors Mark Coniglio and Dawn Stoppiello have lectured and taught workshops on the integration of media and performance in Australia, Canada and throughout Europe and the United States.

The trail-blazing integration of technology, dance and theater mapped by Troika Ranch Artistic Directors Mark Coniglio and Dawn Stoppiello has led to previous tours and residencies throughout Europe and across the U.S. When England’s essexdance and Germany’s Forum Neues Musiktheater proposed an international partnership that would fuse the European and
American dance-tech worlds, the artistic duo jumped at the chance. The collaboration began in May 2005 with a two-month residency at essexdance just outside London, England. While there, Coniglio and Stoppiello developed the motion-tracking technology and interactive digital imagery used in 16[R]evolutions, selected four brilliant UK based dancers, and proceeded to create a 45-minute work-in-proqregs version. Development continued at the Forum Neues Musiktheater in Stuttgart, Germany, leading to a work-in-progress showing there this past November. The partnership culmínated in May andJune of 2006, as Troika Ranch gave the European premiere of 16[R]evolutions during a seven-city tour of England and Germany.

16[R]evolutions was created and developed through an international residency, organized by essexdance, the specialist dance development agency working with dance and digital media in the United Kingdom, and is supported in being presented at ISEA by Arts Council England East and Office of Cultural Affairs in San Jose. The creation of 16[R]evolutions was also supported by the Forum Neues Musiktheater in Stuttgart,  Germany.

The creation of this work was supported through an international partnership with essexdance, the specialist dance development agency working with dance and digital media (ttK),
the lnternational Workshop Festival (UK), Forum Neues Musiktheater (Germany) and 3LD Art and Tech Centre (USA) with financial support from Arts Council England, East (UK),
Chelmsford Borough Council (UK), the Jerome Foundation, DTW ARM Fellowship Program, and friends of Troika Ranch.

  • Mark Coniglio – Artistic Director. Composer Mark Coniglio invents custom instruments and software specifically for use in the performance of his music. These instruments focus on two things: monitoring the movements and vocalizations of live performers and using that information to allow generative and performative control of synthesizers, video software and other media. A native of Nebraska, Coniglio began his career working as a producer for American Gramophone Records. From 1990-94 he taught courses in interactive music and was an integral part of the Center for Experiments in Art, lnformation and Technology. Coniglio is the recipient of two consecutive ARM Fellowships from Dance Theater Workshop (2004/05) and served as facilitator for the ARM Fellowship Program in 2006. He ís also the creator of Isadora® , a graphic programming environment that provides interactive control over digital media, with special emphasis on the real-time manipulation of digital video.    troikatronix.com.
  • Dawn Stoppiello – Artistic Director. Dawn Stoppiello is a choreographer, dancer and media artist who has dedicated her career to computer mediated live performance. For nearly twenty years she has created choreography for bodies interfaced to computers through sensory systems. Stoppiello began her career in Portland, Oregon at theJefferson High School for the Performing Arts. She received a BFA in dance from California lnstitute of the Arts in 1989. After graduation, she became a member of the Bella Lewitzky Dance Company where she remained until 1992. Stoppiello has taught on the dance faculty of Loyola Marymount University, Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts and the University of Maryland-Baltimore County. She has been commissioned to set works on students at Point Park University, George Washington University, Brown University and the New York State Summer School for the Arts, among others. Her article “Flesh Motor” about her experience with dance and technology is printed in Women, Art and Technology, MIT Press / Leonardo Art Journal (2003). She is a proud recipient of a Princess Grace Foundation Statue Award (2004) for continued excellence in dance.
  • Benjamin Wegman – Performer. Benjamin Wegman began his training under Laurie Merriman of lllinois State University and continued his studies with the School of the Joffrey Ballet and Point Park University. Ben has worked with the Pillowproject Dance Company of Pittsburgh and Junction Dance Theatre of Philadelphia. Currently Ben resides in Philadelphia and is working with Jeanne Ruddy Dance, SCRAP performance group, and Keith Thompson’s dancetactics as well as the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange of Washington D.C. Ben is thrilled for this opportunity with Troika Ranch.
  • Johanna Levy – Performer. Johanna Levy is originally from France and was trained at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Lyon and Rudra, the school of Maurice Béjart in Switzerland. Johanna moved to London in September 2004 and is a founder member of Gaurier/Levy Dance Theatre who has premiered their work Whispering Resolution in 2006.
  • Daniel Suominen – Performer. Daniel Suorninen completed a BA (Hons) in Dance Theatre at Laban Centre, London and has worked internationally in Germany, the UK, Finland and the Middle East. As a choreographer he has produced SOLO001 (video work, 2002), Urban Score (2003) and Ephemera.
  • Lucia Tong – Performer. Lucia Tong was introduced to modern dance while earning her B.Sc. in Environmental Science at the University of California-Berkeley. Currently based in London, Lucia has performed with the Bay Area Repertory Dance Company, Wood Dance, the Joe Good Performance Group, Greensco and Protein Dance amongst others.

This performance is supported by Arts Council England, East (UK) through the Escalator International Program and Office of Cultural Affairs, City of San Jose. With special thanks to the San Jose Repertory Theater.