BLIND DATE TAFFY REPORT
A most enjoyable blind date, I must admit, largely because of the exceptional generosity of the Vassar community. Upon arrival, I was immersed in an atmosphere already immersed and fluent in Limited Fork Theory, attending a class I didn't want to leave; the student questions and comments were so insightful and made me probe Limited Fork Theory for answers seldom demanded —the tines vibrated with rapture in configuring responses. At the end of the class, as I was leaving the learning space, I heard this comment:
It's as if we were visited by Blake himself!
In advance of the Bishop Lecture installation, three students had agreed to be lecture Installation soloists, knowing only that they would be assigned words that they would say as conducted during the installation, and that they would not know these words until minutes before the event.
A tech crew was in place to handle the video and audio projection, playback and capture. A single video projected in three ways, on a large center mounted screen, on smaller free-standing screen to the left of the mounted screen, and on an intersection of ceiling and wall to the right of the mounted screen. Projection into the corner allows disruption of the flatness of projection onto flat surfaces. The projected material adapts, interacts with the architecture and dimensionality of the complex geometry of the surface intersection system. At first, technicians expressed concern because the projections spilled over boundaries of the screens, interacting and mingling with neighboring projections streams, a spill that pleased me —"great spill," I said. One technician smiled and said,"You mean like John Cage?" "Yes," I said; "I love John Cage!" and gave my consent to interactions unfolding however they unfolded, that the goal was an outcome system within a set of minimal limiting factors that increased variability. The three looping copies of the same projection piece were not to be synchronized. The looping audio of the Bertolozzi/Moss Bridge Music was not part of the projection video, and was to be played separately. The audio and video of the lecture installation were to be captured for 15-20 minutes, then played back into the event space to be interacted with as the lecture continued to unfold, and continued to be captured with another camera.
After another 15-20 minutes, the layered capture was again fed back into the event space for further interaction to become part of the active present, the activated moment.
Both video feedbacks were projected onto the large center screen, displacing the initial center screen loop of prepared video while the smaller screen and the corner wall projection continued their uninterrupted prepared video loops.
With each feedback, what was unfolding attempted to occupy gaps in the appearance of what had previously unfolded without filling all gaps; in fact, without apparently reducing the number of gaps at all. Subsystems of infinite gap potential appeared; as infinite but smaller for some gaps having received content, filler that didn't fill.
Noticing that front row seats in this grand old Vassar auditorium produced complex squeaks, I assigned a chair to each student soloist to play, and revealed their words: sum/some, skein, aurora, rapture, rupture.
The installation could begin
(4kergirl conducting the sum-skein-aurora-rapture-rupture-chair choir
who at times took their microphones into the audience for audience amplified inclusion and not just background inclusion
that included a well-placed cough).
Rate and intensity of system contributions increased during the installation, the conductor eventually turning over that role to each contributor and coauthor, telling them to supply as much sum/some, skein, aurora, rapture, rupture as they were inclined to contribute, as they were encouraged/inspired by what was unfolding in any ways that the unfolding installation system could accommodate, even some dance that the technicians with the fixed camera trained on the video screens and ceiling did not capture. The video itself danced, however. An audience heard but not seen on the tapes.
The 2009 Elizabeth Bishop Lecture was forked into becoming an interactive installation. Sensitivity to systems of space as collaborators helped determine the form of the interactive installation. By relinquishing control over content and allowing collaborators to have a stake in the making, responsibility for the outcome is shared. There is no outcome without coauthoring as implementation of the system assumes coauthoring, assumes unplanned input, assumes ability and willingness to accept and interact with what has already happened without a privilege of first examining that prior event component, assumes technical glitches (video during the event capture only of projection surfaces, no audio capture of the last moment in which 4kergirl quotes Bishop to comment on what has/is happening in the event moment: everything was rainbow, rainbow, rainbow, so I let the fish go), assumes enough technical recovery and successful troubleshooting that will be some video and audio capture of the event for 4kergirl to develop into sound and video taffy that depends on outcomes of lecture installation coauthoring and collaboration in order to exist and become available online in this website.
The unfolding happened (happens) in accordance with principles of Limited Fork Theory: the study of interacting systems on some scale(s) in some location(s) for some duration(s) of time —none of it permanent (on some scale in some location for some duration of time), none of it finished (on some scale in some location for some duration of time), the sound and video sculptures offered here unfolding from interactions with sonic and visual outcomes captured during the unfolding of the event in physical Vassar host systems.
Such unfolding practices overcome notions of ownership, as powerful as such notions can be. Even when a collaborative nature underlying an event or occurrence or moment is not obvious, that interactions have contributed to and assisted in the existence of what exists (on some scale in some location for some duration of time), a collaborative nature prevails, everything involved able to claim some role in the shape of, configuration of a moment of interaction and intersection —the computer on which I build the website and configure content one of my collaborators, the broadband modem, supply of electrical taffy from DTE (Detroit Edison), the Vassar community, the existence of planetary and galactic systems —what did I do but arrange and configure taffy that became available for me to arrange and configure?
What did I do but pick up a fork I know is flawed, that I know can't deliver everything without being able to know just how much or little of a system's everything on some scale in some location for some duration of time has been delivered, the tine(s) on which configurable information adheres being configured (on some scale in some location for some duration of time) by interaction with adhering to the tine system, the tines themselves variable so that adhering to a single tine does not (have to ) mean adhering to a consistent tine system.
Similarly, that which adheres may be (variable subsystems of) a variable adhering system. Who and what can claim what as being a product of their own clear and sole authorship? Even the subject of content (and all that that subject as a system is contained by/contains) is collaborator. Outcomes and products are forms of communities, communities of molecules, communities of electrons, communities of cells, communities of voices, communities of taffy, so the sound and video sculptures of the 2009 Elizabeth Bishop Lecture Installation are not mine alone, but instead belong to the community of coauthors and collaborators so is given to those systems of coauthors and collaborators here. Thank you for coauthoring and configuring meanings and possibilities of me:
everything is rainbow, rainbow, rainbow; so I let the fish go.