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Gallery at TV of Tomorrow Conference

This past June, we participated at the TV of Tomorrow Conference by showing a few of our interactive sculptures. Eleas Kostis, the sculptor and lead artist, worked on the form while I handled the interactive bits.

The pieces were previously shown at Maker Faire and Freespace. We’re honored to have participated with all the other artists – including the great folks at Cool Neon – check out some of their work (and ours) below.

TV of Tomorrow also put together a wrap up video for the conference – to see what the conference was all about, check out their recap here.

Check out some of Eleas Work at Praxis Designs.

Critics, Bloggers, and PR in the 21st Century

Last night, a group of bloggers, producers, artists, choreographers, and critics gathered to discuss a very important question – in a shifting world where the role of print media is shifting, what is the role of the critic (particularly in the world of dance)?

In the arts, press = $. If you get good press, you get more bookings (from presenters), more donations (from patrons and board members), and more people come see you. So the (basic) formula goes. So, Press is important. Duh. But press does not equal critics. And critics do not exist for the sole purpose of generating good press for art. Critics write to generate dialogue. Is this still the case? More importantly, will that be the case 2 years from now? Probably. It should.

But can bloggers actually fulfill the same role that the critics from the New York Times (and other reputable publications) have filled for the past X amount of years? And what were those roles to begin with?

You’re welcome to debate these questions in the comments. But for the purpose of this particular post, I’ll focus on the role of bloggers, and what I see as an evolution of publicity, audience development, and general discourse around art work. To grossly generalize and simplify things, I’ll break it down into 2 camps. Bloggers are bad, and bloggers are good.

In his book, The Cult of the Amateur, Andrew Keen takes the position that bloggers and “the crowd” are diluting our culture. In a NYTimes review of his book, Michiko Kukutani writes

“what the Web 2.0 revolution is really delivering is superficial observations of the world around us rather than deep analysis, shrill opinion rather than considered judgment.” In his view Web 2.0 is changing the cultural landscape and not for the better. By undermining mainstream media and intellectual property rights, he says, it is creating a world in which we will “live to see the bulk of our music coming from amateur garage bands, our movies and television from glorified YouTubes, and our news made up of hyperactive celebrity gossip, served up as mere dressing for advertising.” This is what happens, he suggests, “when ignorance meets egoism meets bad taste meets mob rule.”

Essentially, he takes the position that the wisdom of the crowds essentially creates a popularity contest. Google search results, he claims, are based on popularity and not relevance. On the other hand, Dan Gillmor has a more optimistic and positive view on the publishing revolution. In his book, We the Media, Gilmor writes:

The rise of the citizen-journalist will help us listen. The ability of anyone to make the news will give new voice to people who’ve felt voiceless — and whose words we need to hear. They are showing all of us — citizen, journalist, newsmaker — new ways of talking, of learning xxix

Many writers have lost their jobs as critics for reputable publications. If writers who have been laid were to publish on a blog, would their word be valued any less? If Elizabeth Zimmer published a critique or piece on her own blog, is her writing any less valid? I trust we live in a world where this is not the case. So why are we not seeing more writers who have been laid off blog on their own sites?

We still believe in mainstream media. Mainstream media still serves a purpose.
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The A.W.A.R.D. Show, Live on the Web

For those interested in Arts + Technology, I’ll be webcasting The A.W.A.R.D. Show from the Joyce Soho [via UStream] tonight @ 7pm EST, with Nic Petry on Camera.

The winner of the A.W.A.R.D Show will win $10,000 to develop new dance work.

You can watch right here, on UStream, or on the mothership site (Joyce Soho)

If you can’t make it tonight, you can also catch past performances of the A.W.A.R.D. Show on the UStream Archives. Also, make sure to tune in June 21st to see who will take home the $10k prize.

Here’s the information for the June 20th performance:

THE FINALISTS from each preliminary performance will be posted on The Joyce website each morning following the performance by 11am: www.joyce.org/about_specialevents_awardshow.html

THE WINNER of The A.W.A.R.D. Show! 2009: New York City will be announced directly following the final performance on Sunday, June 21.

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NextBook, JDub, and Milk&Honey

I just recently wrapped up a video project for NextBook and JDub

This video was designed for a live event in LA, to be played on a plasma screen. However, we created the project files to be modular, and reusable for multiple formats.

NextBook at Milk + Honey from Jaki Levy on Vimeo

For this project, NextBook gave us the challenge of working with text for their new releases.

Because we had to work with so much text, we hand animated each frame to create a high definition experience, while keeping all the text present, readable, and comprehensible.

Additional credits:
Thanks to Rob Moon for the handsome design + the great animation help

Dance Videos made for the web

Why is “dance made for the web” an important topic?

Elizabeth Zimmer wrote in December 2008, “The past 20 years have seen the proliferation of cheap video equipment, and rare is the downtown stage not shared between dancers and video projections…some of these artists are as savvy as they are gifted, and they will figure out a way to cross over and enter the consciousness of a critical mass of viewers.”

As audiences for dance grow through the web and stage, so does the opportunity to create and share work.
Some it is completely choreographed, others are more improvisational.

I’ve compiled a few videos that give us a peek into the present + future (or death) of dance, art, technology, and the surrounding community dialogue on the web. Please feel free to add links to videos you’ve seen in the comments section.

Also – for a nice overview of videos focused on Ballet, take a look at Doug Fox’s post.

I will be showing + starting at 12:13

Maybe we all dream to be………? from T.A.G.San Francisco on Vimeo
Dancers: Drew Jacoby and Rubi Pronk
Choreography/art direction: Brian Gibbs
Shot and edited: Mattew Taylor
The piece was shot on a rooftop in Williamsburg Brooklyn

There are many more videos available “below the fold” –
See the full post

Click the MORE link to see the rest of the videos…

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The Defibulators | CD Release Party

Last night, The Defibulators hosted a great night of music to celebrate their new CD Release, Corn Money.

New York Magazine writes:

In the way they re-create the barroom swing of the Hank era, the Defibulators and their fellow indie-country bands present themselves as more authentic than, say, Taylor Swift. But while Corn Money has moments of unvarnished beauty (“Your Hearty Laugh”), it also includes a degree of Hee Haw–style cornpone (note long underwear). So what is their music: paean or put-on? “It’s not ironic, what we’re doing,” insists Bru. “We’re not making fun of [country music].” Jennings arches his brow. “Or are we?” Noting Bru’s disapproval, he adds, “We’re not making fun of it. We’re having fun with it.” Sighing, Bru sums up the mystery that is their world: “It’s kind of hard to describe to people.”

You can listen for yourself on their site.

But before you do, watch this video we made to promote their new album.

New Album CORN MONEY out March 3rd! from the defibulators on Vimeo.

for a little more backstory on this video, read my original post

Geek-a-zine Show | LIVE 12-15-08 – With Peter Radizeski and Jaki Levy

Peter Radizeski and I were recently guests on Jeffrey Powers’ show, Geek-a-zine, on UStream.tv.

We spoke about cell phones, the data on them (McCain’s and Obamas Blackberry issues), elections in Estonia, Yahoo email and their new social rollout, the Palm Nova, and a whole lot more.

Check out the show below, and catch his show every Monday, at 7pm on Geekazine’s UStream channel.

Part I – Introductions

Part II – Yahoo’s new design, Estonia’s SMS voting, Blackberry issues on Capitol Hill, and the new Palm OS

A few related links on what we spoke about
Yahoo Goes Social – TechCrunch
Estonia to vote via SMS
A reporter finds private campaign info on McCain’s BlackBerry purchased at a garage sale
Obama will hire a Chief Technology Officer
Wall Street Journal, Google, and Net Neutrality
Google violates Net Neutrality – not
Jan Chipchase, Nokia, and the Use of Cell Phones around the World – a fascinating look at cell phone culture around the world
I read this article when it was pulished, but re-found it via Designing for Humans

We’ve launched Daniel Gwirtzman’s site!

I’m happy to say we’ve officially launched Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company’s new site!

Actually, I’m quite impressed with the final product we put together for the Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company. With the help of great media all around, we were able to piece together a photo gallery, a video gallery, a new subscription system, and even an SMS delivery system for his audiences.

It’s really been great working with Daniel and his company. They really did a phenomenal job in gathering their assets, organizing their content, and creating compelling videos. Congratulations, Daniel! It’s exciting to know I’ll be able to continue to help you communicate your wonderful work!

If you like this, take a look at my other work.

[screenshots follow]


About Page | Features: Large Image on each page, drop-down navigation, links to video gallery, customizable sidebar navigation


Home Page | Features: Slide show, customizable footer area, drop-down navigation bar

While launching the site, I found this guide to be particularly useful:

I initially setup this wordpress site in a subdirectory ( /wordpress ) so that I could develop things without affecting their active site. After the wordpress site was all setup, I needed to make the switch. The article above did the trick for me.

I’d love to hear your thoughts – share your ideas and leave a comment!

DanceArchy, protesting with John Perry Barlow

This Monday, John Perry Barlow will be speaking at NYU.

I remember during the RNC of 2004, John Perry Barlow organized a protest. The idea was simple enough: dance around the city and express our political opinions in a creative way.

For those who can remember back, there was a larger police presence in New York City during the RNC in 2004 (19,000+) than there were soldiers in Afghanistan (10,000+).

I heard about this particular protest while working on another segment at the RNC and just couldn’t resist the opportunity to join up.

Watch the video for John Perry Barlow’s explanation (be patient while loading):

Related Links:
About Axis of Eve
About Coco Fusco

A first in the world of Dance

Tonight, the Martha Graham Dance Company previewed their work Clytemnestra at NYU’s Skirball Center. The show featured Fang-Yi Sheu in the title role, along with a phenomenal cast. I had the personal honor of creating the supertitles for the production.

From The Washington Post:

Most helpful to the audience is the addition of a few discreet surtitles to describe the action. At one point they offered a bit of unintentional comic relief, when the text read, “The women of Mycenae celebrate the victory over Troy,” and the women onstage grimaced, clawed the air and appeared to be in the grip of abdominal distress. But they know what we’ve forgotten: There is no conquering death. Tragedies don’t disappear; their ghosts catch up to you, sooner or later.

Janet Eilber, artistic director for the Martha Graham Dance Company, had the task of devising the text. Once she delivered the full text, I created the system to project them above the stage.

Typically, operas feature supertitles to help audiences understand what the performers are saying. The supertitles, in this instance, offered the audiences a chance to catch up with the narrative of the piece.

JDub Sales Video

The video below was made for JDub, an NYC record label, to help them pitch their artists at a sales conference. JDub represents artists such as Matisyahu, Golem, and Sway Machinery.

The purpose of the video was clear: showcase the label’s artists and their energy.

Check out the video for the final product.

In addition to editing the final video and delivering a DVD for the sales conference . . .

We also optimized images, logos, and videos for JDub. Additionally, we converted multiple video files from DVD’s from performances, archives, and promos. All these graphic and video files were delivered to JDub for future use.

Finally, we produced this media player for all the video files. The media player can be managed by JDub without knowing any code.

Watch our other videos

New Site Launch | Time Lapse Dance

With the help of many, many people and some great teamwork, we officially launched this site for Jody Sperling : Time Lapse Dance

The original redesign was put together by Paris Marashi, while the site design and content management system was executed by Sam Marx

Jody’s upcoming work, Ghosts, will feature a wearable costume assembled by ITP folk (Jenny Chowdhury & Alex Kowal)

The site features a full content management system (run on Drupal), a full media player managed through brightcove, and some nice graphic work provided by her colleagues.

Check out the customized media player here.

During the process, we spent great care taking a look at the works page.
We wanted to make sure we could feature individual photos, videos, and text – all in one area – so the content management system had to be flexible enough to handle all those elements.

During the process, we also setup a facebook page, a blip.tv page, as well as a pro flickr account. The goal of setting up all these sites were simply to allow Jody to extend her reach beyond her site, while still providing a homebase for her work, and image.

In addition to visiting the new site, make sure you check out Ghosts, premiering in October!

Clytemnestra Project Wrap-Up

[ via skidmore.edu ]

The internationally acclaimed Martha Graham Dance Company conducted a highly ambitious summer dance residency at Skidmore May 26–June 21. For starters, the Graham Company, recognized as the world’s oldest modern-dance troupe, used the residency to reconstruct sections of its founder’s classic 1958 dance work, Clytemnestra, which will debut this October in Greece and at the Kennedy Center in December.

Working under the direction of Graham artistic director Janet Eilber and drawing on veteran dancers’ memories and archival performance footage, the company reset the complex, three-act dance work on its current dancers.

Dance students participating in the residency’s three-week intensive workshop had the unusual opportunity of joining the professional dancers in two public performances, starting with an open rehearsal in the college’s airy, bright dance studios. They also performed an early Graham group work, Panorama, in the company’s June 13 dance concert at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. The SPAC performance, a headline event of the second annual SaratogaArtsFest, drew an enthusiastic audience and won whoops and ovations for the dancers.

The 37 student dancers also pioneered a dance-world first—a specially designed dance media workshop, in which student documentary teams captured highlights of the choreographic reconstruction process for use on the dance company’s new Web site, clytemnestraproject.com. As the students learned Graham technique, composition, and repertory, they also documented their own and the company’s work using video, photography, and blogs, working under the guidance of New York-based new-media consultant Jaki Levy and former Graham principal dancer Peter Sparling, a video and installation artist and maker of award-winning dance videos.

read Skidmore’s Scope ’08 for another summary

View Photos from the project


Lamentation by Martha Graham

[media id=2 width=540 height=400]

The video above is Lamentation by Martha Graham, shot at Saratoga Performing Arts Center during a live performance.
It was a 2 camera shoot, taped and edited entirely for the web.

NOTE : This is a ROUGH VERSION, not the final version.

This is intended as a preview.

Choreographer: Martha Graham
Dancer: Carrie Ellmore-Tallitsch
Music by: Zoltan Kodaly

Shot + Edited by: Jaki Levy