Notes for String Paradox Kite

String Paradox : “Every string which has one end also has another end”

omega is an hour long exploration of that which cannot be accessed, and therefore cannot be
sorted in our perception.

The human mind insists on categorizing, filing, and “othering” in order to make sense of
reality. This 7 piece project, omega, seeks to identify perceptual boundaries through the use of
different methods of counting utilizing physical, visual, and auditory phenomenon. The moment the
brain forgets that counting has been occurring, the moment where perception breaks from
conscious categorization, is a door to the inaccessible. By exposing these limits in perception
every realm of categorization is revealed.

This final piece, “String Paradox”, is a set of compounding improvisations on the ‘string
paradox’: “Every string which has one end also has another end”; a paradox because of the
possibility of infinite systems. Mathematical theories of infinity and imperceptible numbers have
provided structure to an infinity that can barely be imagined, let alone heard, seen, remembered, or
explained. This piece diverges from the rest of omega by forgoing the methods of sonification used
in the previous pieces. Instead, the piece was composed in layers, with each shifting layer
reflecting and changing the others throughout the collaboration process. The choices in
videography, choreography, and sound draw from repetition and glitch, altering the flow of Time.
Access to this place of unreality is textural, felt in light and skin, error and absence. 

Three female bodies, like writhing oracles, reach through the veil in an attempt to physically
touch what is just beyond, just out of reach. The dancers use the physical body to search for the
physically and psychologically inaccessible within a contained environment. The dancers explore
the enclosed space, focusing on the sensual nature of physically exploring the boundaries of
perception. The dancers in this piece use a large veil as a prop, finding no beginning, no end, and
never being able to reach the other side, or each other. There is a palpable feeling of barely
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coming into contact with the unknown; the evocation of sensing one’s own skin as both participant
and audience is key in this piece. The veil is also used as a scrim for the Kinect-processed
projections, while it moves across the bodies on stage. The veil’s interwoven strings are, in part,
fine threads of connection between perceived boundaries.
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Experiencing this piece live is completely different than viewing it purely in a video frame. In
the live performance, the dancers’ faces are never seen, they are anonymous bodies shifting under
the veil, coming clearly into view only when stroking their faces against the cloth while the
projections shine through. In the published video, the content that is projected can be clearly seen
because it is cut in, further establishing the importance of the content, and of the multiplicity of
timelines, occurring at the same time during the piece. These universes are only distinguishable in
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the published video because of the clarity of the cuts between scenes. Equally as important are the
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“It is Maya, the veil of deception, which blinds the eyes of mortals,and makes them behold a world of which they cannot
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say either that is or that is not: for it is like a dream; it is like the sunshine or the sane which the traveller takes from afar
for water, or the stray piece of rope he mistakes for a snake." Arthur Schopenhauer, The World As Will and Idea.
“A closed system is never absolutely closed; but on the one hand it is connected in space to other systems by a more
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or less ‘fine’ thread, and on the other hand it is integrated or reintegrated into a whole which transmits a duration to it
along this thread.” Ray Brassier, Nihil Unbound: Enlightenment and Extinction.
“Perhaps the stories I have related are one single story. The obverse and the reverse of this coin are, for God, the
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same.” Jorge L Borges, Labyrinths.
Notes for String Paradox Kite
cuts to black frames in the video version, which are much less obvious in the live version. These
completely blacked-out moments of nothingness are glitches that are normalized through
repetition.
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Within the content and form, glitch and error are embraced. Beginning initially with clicking
sounds taken from failing hard drives and later introducing the sounds of computer malfunctions
and electronic buzzing. Within the video, “errors”, like shaking of the camera, jumps in time, and
blackout moments, occur first without warning. Error is the horror of reality tearing through. As
glitches are normalized through repetition, the horrifying realization that reality is constantly
malfunctioning to an infinite degree pervades the landscape.
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The development process for this piece, while seemingly different from the strict sonification
of theories, became a natural response to the paradoxical nature of the original riddle. The first set
of sounds was created, then videos were shot to reflect the sounds, then the choreography was
explored. Next, the videos were projected live with improvisation, the projections were developed
to follow the dancers with the Microsoft Kinect, separating the foreground projections from the
background projections. Finally, the sound was developed to be improvisable, so the dancers
could ebb & flow with the audio, the sound could ebb & flow with the dancers, and the video could
ebb & flow with either.

The musical content was primarily being driven by the practice of processing recorded
sound. Recordings of harp, bass clarinet, and vibraphone were taken, distorted, rearranged, and
layered to create the basic form of the piece. Months later, the same instrumentalists recorded
improvisations over their original recordings. Electronic music tropes were embraced through the
inclusion of deep kick drums, heavy digital reverb, and intensifying white noise. Room noise from
the recording process was mixed to have its own sonic shelf.

The projections follow, trace, and frame the dancers’ bodies using a Microsoft Kinect. The
Kinect tracks the depth of moving objects in front of it, and that data is sent to Resolume, a visual
performance software. Two videos are projected during the live performance. One video feed is
projected onto the background, the second video feed projects onto the dancers bodies, never
bleeding onto the background. This perceptual focus allows the bodies to act as a unified frame,
flowing and moving indepenently from the background frame. The content of each video feed is
similar and repeating, but never synchronized. This allows the visualization of the bodies to be
displaced in time.

The set of video content used as the projected background behind the dancers is also
used as glitched cut-ins in the final video piece. This set of videos contains the video work of
Margie Pratt, which uses light and shifting shadow as its subject. These videos were chosen for
their containment of intense stillness within still shots of moving light. The other videos used for this
purpose were those shot by Joel Reeves and directed by the artist. These videos also have
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“Whatever the reality evoked, it had only to be permeated by absence to emerge distilled, emancipated from whatever
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was keeping it sterilely shut up within itself, freed from the obstinate tautology in which it was absorbed, thereby giving
access to the profundity of things”. Ray Brassier, Nihil Unbound: Enlightenment and Extinction.
“Even if this gives rise to a new unseen set, onto infinity; and an absolute aspect by which the closed system opens
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onto a duration which is immanent to the whole universe, which is no longer a set and does not belong to the order of
the visible”. Ray Brassier, Nihil Unbound: Enlightenment and Extinction.
Notes for String Paradox Kite
specific lighting, and use the hands of the artist pulling painfully at the physical body to connect
with the chaos of the dancers.

The strings that connect the live performance of this piece to its existence as a framed
media object (viewed on the internet) are the same that connect the now to the past and future. It
is a delicate incongruity for a live performance to be captured & edited into video, however, it is a
complete paradox that the past is viewable in the now. While 'paradox' suggests an impass in
understanding, one can simply dissolve the barrier. Borges writes, “Time, if we can intuitively grasp
such an identity, is a delusion; the difference and inseparability of one moment belonging to its
apparent past from another belonging to its apparent present is sufficient to disintegrate it".

Videography by Margie Pratt
Editing by Suzanne Kite

Danced by Becca Green, Alexandria Rema, Suzanne Kite
Choreography by Becca Green

Sound Composed by Suzanne Kite
Crafted for live performance by David Howe

Harp recorded by Marilu Donovan and performed live by Jackie Urlik
Vibraphone recorded by Matthew Allen
Bass Clarinet recorded by Steven Feiler

Kinect programming and video performance by Lewis Godowski
Video content by Margie Pratt and Joel Reeves

Costumes by Hannah Lawton

Live show produced by Jenica Anderson, Devin Ronneberg, and James Hurwitz
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