We are hard at work on the premiere of the dance Critical Mass, which will occur on February 2-4 at the February Dance concert at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. We have a cast of eight U of I dancers, and Chad Michael Hall of Multiplex Dance came back from Los Angeles to work with us once again on the conception and choreography. We are having to make the work for both audience who will be coming onstage as well as audience that will sit in the seats like a traditional theater, so we’ve have to redo some of the staging. But the LAIT app is going to be central to this show, and showing off its many new capabilities! Tony Reimer, our programmer, has been hard at work, and he ROCKS!!
We started a new collaboration with Chicago-based choreographer and director Erica Mott. The work is entitled Mycelial: Networked Bodies, which uses the incredible life-giving and communicative capabilities of underground networks of forest mushrooms as a metaphor for the interconnectedness of various fractured communities. To that end, we are working on having mobile devices running LAIT be able to be assigned to different groups, and to have those groups respond to specific messages in real time. Watch the video of the first week’s workshop:
The LAIT app was featured in an article in the Chicago Tribune, just in time to promote our Critical Mass production in April. The article talks about the app and how we are using it to advance the future of performance.
The next dance using LAIT is being developed at the University of Illinois. Chad Michael Hall from the University of California-Irvine is once again working with LAIT’s director John Toenjes to make a new dance featuring LAIT. We’re excited to use the nearly-released version 1.2 of LAIT in this dance, which will be shown in its nascent state on April 8-9 at 7 pm in the Krannert Center Playhouse Theater. We hope lots of people will come to check out the latest theatrical use of LAIT in a dance context. Contact us for more information.
The dance Public Figure, featuring LAIT, is having its second production, this time in Lake Tahoe, CA. Leading up to this performance, the dance is being restaged by Chad Hall’s company Multiplex Dance. I (LAIT director John Toenjes) am in California, rehearsing the new version at the Pasadena (CA) Dance Theater. An invited audience workshop performance is being held tonight, Sunday Feb. 28 at 6 pm, with an updated show, and new content for the audience’s smartphones.
We had a good rehearsal day on Saturday, Feb. 28, working from first thing in the morning until 10 at night. The show is now fully formed, and now the phone app content has to be finalized… so we’ll be working a lot on that today. Friday night was all about setting up and working out technical links. Yesterday I had to write a new piece of music and mix it for the space, then get the phones working…and then we went through a couple of runs to see how we should incorporate LAIT into the new version of the show. This morning I’m up early making a new cue list for the phones. We will have a show by 6 tonight—Theater au LAIT must go on!
As a part of the University of California artists’ residency program, LAIT is being demonstrated through a participatory mobile device improvisation using the LAIT app. This week-long residency features performances, improvisation, workshop, lectures designed to support the development of LAIT as conceptual frameworks are being identified.
John Toenjes, Associate Professor and Music Director at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Department of Dance, will be a guest artist in dance as part of the Department of Dance’s Monthly Guest Performance Artist Series from October 17-25, 2015. While here, Toenjes will collaborate with Assistant Professor Chad Michael Hall to create phase one of their collaborative project INTERFACE: Public Figure. There will be two showings of the work- Friday, October 23 at 7:30 pm and Saturday October 24th at 2:00 pm. Showtimes and locations available on the Claire Trevor School of the Arts.
John Toenjes demonstrated the LAIT (Laboratory for Audience Interactive Technologies) system, and lead workshop participants through a participatory mobile device improvisation using the LAIT app. Afterwards, based upon feedback from participants, we may remake the app and redo the improvisation, to explore possibilities within this innovative art form. Participants are urged to bring Apple or Android smartphones and/or tablets, and to have their batteries fully charged just prior to the workshop. Additionally, Toenjes will guest teach in INTERFACE Ensemble (Hall’s student ensemble), Dance and Video, and will present his LAIT workshop which is free and open to the UCI community in the xMPL Theater on Friday, October 23rd at noon.
The LAIT project has been selected as one of ten proposals to be developed on behalf of the Illinois Learning Sciences Design Initiative (ILSDI). Facilitated by the College of Education, this initiative features the work of emerging technologies being developed on-campus by competing teams of interdisciplinary researchers.
This fall, LAIT collaborators are working on two fronts to make the project more robust. The technical team is increasing the modes of communication between audience and facilitator. The aesthetics team is writing a conceptual reflection of LAIT’s potential, outlining future applications and thematic considerations. In November, the aesethetics and technical team will put forth a proposal for deploying LAIT in educational settings, both in the classroom and beyond.
The goal of ILSDI is to foster collaboration among different departments and make use of Illinois’ outstanding faculty and research facilities. At the kickoff luncheon on September 18, John Toenjes outlined the current status of LAIT’s technical capabilities.
The Laboratory for Audience Interactive Technologies