Concept and development
"What must remain unspeakable for contemporary regimes of discourse to exrcise their power?... A subject that speaks at the border of the speakble assumes the risk of redrawing the line between what is and is not speakable, of being cast into the realm of the unspeakable."
Judith Butler, Excitable Speech.
Morfophenesis is an interactive dance, electro-acoustic, video and generative virtual architecture performance in which the dancer's image is captured by a video camera and analyzed in real time for the production and the processing of sound, video and 3D image. The dancer's voice is captured through a wireless microphone and processed together with other sound sources, video and 3D image. The sound is spatialised interactively in four different channels, generating associations between the movement and the sound it creates. The life video image of the dancer processed, generating an abstract wash that changes in form, color, texture and density, as well as abstract pre-recorded video clips. Finally the movement of the body creates fluid tridimensional structures, spaces in process of becoming, in constant dissolution, like a projection of the body.
Morphogenesis is a concept that is used in biology to identify the formation processes of the organs in the newborn organism. In morphogenesis the extended body (post-human) is reformulated in a hybrid context of representation and language, in which the form, the matter, the body emerges as a permanent process of materialisation and dematerialisation, oscillating in the frontier of intelligibility.
Interaction is not designed in the form of strict correspondences but rather of open and often unpredictable ones, where the translation between parameters is nor fully under control. A Metabody is thus an instrument that produces languages that cannot be completely controlled. This exemplifies the implicit mechanisms in language and media inverting the traditional account of the body, as surface and object of control. This mutant body breaks the chain of the performative reproduction of discourse to eventually become an antibody that resists and confronts the hegemonic technologies of representation revealing its implicit and silent mechanisms.
If the representation of the body, the constitution of the subject, is a process related to an objective and phalogocentric discourse we present an incomplete and inconcrete process that questions the objective status of matter and corporeality, opening horizons of infinte materialisatons and dematerialisations in which any form may be but not form has to be. Although the piece is inscribed in the tradition of the amplified body, no materialist account of the body is raised. Nor is it about the dematerialization of the body, rather it is about the uncertain and broad boundary in which all materialization occurs, where the body must range along the frontier of uncertainty. The post-human therefore is resignified under the sign of the INSTRUMENT in which the substance of the body emerges as a process of complex morphological interactions and processes of sedimentation. Where the lines of foreclosure drawn by discourse are resignified everything turns out to be only frontier and process.
The process of formation of morphogenesis, is the process of formation of an instrument, a hyper-instrument or body, a Metabody. Yet the question is raised whether this is a body with or without organs. Which are the organs and structures of this body.
The hyper-instrument is a complex set formed by the dancer, the interactive space, the video camera which functions as a light sensor; the software and hardware, the different interfaces and the video projection, sound amplifiers without forgetting the interpreters or supervisors which control the four computers. There are at least 2 levels of interactivity, one that is immediate controlled by the dancer and the structural level controlled in the computers.
The core of the instrument is composed by four computers. The first is dedicated to analyze the dancer's image and translate it into some parameters of movement. The image is then croped, threshholded, and finally analyzed.
The parameters currently used include position, size, speed, direction, aspect relationship and others up to fourteen different ones. The second computer is dedicated to the video processing, the third to the audio processing and the fourth to the production of threedimensional image.
Morphogenesis is part of FRONTIER BODIES and METABODY initiatives of REVERSO Institute that study the relationships between the body, art and technology. Future projects include the development of morphogenesis as a set of netconneted inmersive installations and the investigation into the concept of metalanguage, or language of languages, used as a base for non determinist communicaction model with vast applications in such diverse areas as art, education, advanced architecture and discapacities among others.
Yet Morphogenesis is not a scientific study of language and representation but rather an expression of all excess in language, when the body speaks ate the border of the speakable, assuming the risks of redrawing the line between what is and what is not speakable, the risk of being cast out, into the realm of the unspeakable.
Technical Specifications (by Gregorio García Karman)
The instrument is made up of a system of video capture and analysis of movement that controls an environment of audio synthesis and processing, video processing and generation of 3D image. At present stage of development the instrument is displayed in four interconnected computers.
The signal coming from the video camera goes to the first computer, designed to analyze the image and the extraction of the variables that are used to control the rest of the instrument distributed in the other three computers.
The sound system is built of a battery of sound sources that includes the vocal signal of the dancer, captured on a wireless microphone, pre-recorded examples and synthetic sound sources. These materials are transformed through different processes to be projected in a spatialisation system in four channels.
As well as using the choreography as a control system, the computer dedicated to create the video projection permits the capture of video, using it as raw material to obtain a synthetic image through the different algorithms of transformation. Together with the image of the dancer the system also permits the use of video clips imported from the hard disk. Finally the fourth computer has a 3D motor (Virtools) the interactor that controlles the computer system navigates in virtual space, in which the threedimentional structures are deformed and processed according to the movements of the dancer in the interactive space. -----------------