Research

Vegetal Experience: SERRA

Encounter vegetal life through movement driven by the rhythms of humans and plants

Project Summary

In recent years, time-lapse photography has become the preferred research tool for penetrating the mysteries of the plant world. It acts as a magnifying glass, opening a door to understanding an intelligence that is not our own. In Serra, the extreme slow motion of the dancer’s movements and the accelerated movement of the plants results in a meeting that crosses the boundaries of time and space. The time-lapse and acceleration techniques serve to create temporal “lenses” that reveal the subliminal actions of humans and the inner world of plants, all orchestrated within a highly original choreography.

The pre-recorded images and those captured live during the performance will be transformed by instruments developed with a customized program, based primarily but not exclusively on Max/MSP. We will thus be able to replace the “present” with the “recent past,” or the “distant past” with the same temporal sequence in real time. Since each pixel lives in a memory buffer independent of each other, the projection surface defies the properties of the screen, transporting us into another representation of time, a more fluid time. At other moments we will use the parameters of human movement to modify the pre-recorded images of plants, using the techniques of “granular synthesis” to create a powerful dialogue between these two worlds—and an ultra-sensory experience for viewers.

With this work we are expanding the horizon, exploring the outer limits, the fragmentation of human anatomy, while revealing that of plants at the same time. To this end, we are constructing a set of instruments that will shape the morphology of the body. Based on velocity, extensions of movement will manifest themselves through the distortion, separation or continuation of the bodies. Viewers will be able to see, for example, the movements of the dancers reflected in the growth of plant tendrils or roots.

Documentation

For more information, visit the website.

Researchers

Oana Suteu: Concept & MediaMontréal

Ginette Laurin: Concept & Choreography | O Vertigo

Sha Xin Wei: Concept | Director of Synthesis & AME

Todd Ingalls: Responsive Media Artist | Synthesis & Research Professor, AME

Julian Stein: Responsive Media Artist | Synthesis

Chris Roberts: Production Manager | Regis University