April 10, 2018|Ronnie Lam 翻譯 Translation: Clara Chan

舞跡可尋 In Search of a Dance Story

舞蹈與科技——在限制中突破
Dance and Technology—Breaking the Limits

Adrian 和 Wayson在 RAM Camp時便創作了一個虛擬的大氣球,可以靈活改變氣球的重力、大小、數量等等,而舞者就探索與氣球互動的可能性。During RAM Camp, Yeung and Kong created a virtual balloon whose gravity, size, and quantity could be flexibly changed; dancers explored possibilities to interact with it.
圖片由受訪者提供Photo provided by interviewees

新媒體藝術興起,舞蹈與科技的結合似乎是不能迴避的趨勢。用於視覺效果的發明更是令觀賞過程前所未有的令人歎為觀止。但視覺帶給我們的新鮮感過後,值得我們討論的是甚麼?演藝學院媒體設計高級講師及劇場人楊振業(Adrian)相信藝術與科技從來都密不可分,討論兩者結合、應用:「我希望看見的是以科技建立一套新的創作語言。」

With the rise of new media art, the integration of dance and technology seems to be an inevitable trend. Inventions for greater visual effects have made our viewing experience unprecedentedly remarkable, but what deserves our discussion after this sensational visual banquet? Adrian Yeung, senior lecturer in media design at the Hong Kong Academy for Performance Arts and theatre practitioner believes that arts and technology are inseparable, he says, “I hope to see a brand-new set of creative languages founded on technology.”

去年十月,Adrian與多媒體設計師江景先(James)和舞蹈藝術家盤彦燊(Wayson)到日本京都出席了一個關於舞蹈程式RAM Dance Toolkit的國際舞蹈科技會議(RAM Camp)。

Last October, Yeung, multimedia designer James Kong, and dance artist Wayson Poon attended an international dance technology conference, RAM Camp, in Kyoto, Japan that focused on a dance software called RAM Dance Toolkit.

RAM Camp期間的實驗Experimenting during RAM CAMP
圖片由受訪者提供Photo provided by interviewees

RAM Dance Toolkit(RAM,Reactor for Awareness in Motion)由日本山口縣的一個新媒體創作中心Yamaguchi Centre for Arts and Media(YCAM)所開發,是免費公開予公眾下載使用的開放原始碼(Open Source)。其以William Forsythe的即興科技(Improvisation Technologies) 理論和拉賓舞譜作為基礎,主要用途是建構出的虛擬「場景」(Scene)予舞者及編舞作身體開發和創作工具。RAM Dance Toolkit以舞者身上的感測器追蹤及紀錄其動作,然後舞者可以於螢幕上看到摹擬的身體動作和程式的即時互動。除了RAM Dance Toolkit的內置場景外,程式員可以修改並創造出新的虛擬場景。

RAM being the acronym for Reactor for Awareness in Motion, RAM Dance Toolkit is developed by the Yamaguchi Centre for Arts and Media (YCAM) in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan, and based on the theory of Improvisation Technologies developed by William Forsythe and Labanotation. Its main purpose is to construct a virtual scene for dancers and choreographers to explore possibilities of their bodies and assist thecreative process; the software is open source, the public can download and use it freely. RAM Dance Toolkit tracks and records the movements of the dancers, who can see their avatar and software’s real-time response to their movements from the monitor in front of them. Apart from the built-in scenes, programmers of RAM Dance Toolkit can also modify and create new virtual scenes.

「如果跳舞機遊戲的目的不再是擊中箭嘴得分和升級,而是由玩家決定,跳舞機會有甚麼可能性?」James笑稱自己和編舞都是「跳舞機設計員」,兩者關係似「打兵乓」,舞者於程式員擬寫的限制下以身體動作尋求突破,程式員則以修改場景繼續挑戰舞者,雙方似在遊戲中互相挑戰,看誰更靈活更有創意。如果舞者缺乏創意去突破,便很容易被場景所定下的規則框住。

“If there is no scoring and level up system by hitting arrows in a dance machine, instead the player can decide everything, what will be the possible outcomes?” Kong amusingly describes himself and a choreographer as a “dance machine designer” whose relationship is like “playing ping-pong”. Dancers attempt to overcome the limits imposed by programmers with their movements, while programmers challenge
dancers by modifying scenes. Both sides dare each other to be more flexible and innovative. If dancers lack creativity to break though, they will be easily restricted by the rules set by the scene.

三人強調這此程式不是直接用於表演。那目的是甚麼?這是三人在RAM Camp裡思考最多的問題。作為編舞,Wayson覺得此程式並非用作滿足一個原本已經設計好的舞蹈,而是在創作初期刺激藝術家的探索工具。程式員和編舞共同修改場景及規則,透過過程中遏止舞者/編舞的身體習慣,而引發出身體潛藏的特質,然後雙方就實驗的結果決定下一測試。他認為這個方法,對比直接用科技製造視覺效果,是截然不同的創作路徑,亦是種另類對待科技的概念:「甚或有藝術家會設法在逐漸減少運用科技的情況下,仍然保留用實驗時所達到的身體效果和質感,並在作品中呈現予沒有經歷過此程序的觀眾。」

The three emphasize that the software is not to be directly applied to a performance. When they were in the RAM Camp, they mostly thought about the objective of the software. As a choreographer, Poon holds that the software is not to serve a designated dance production, but to act as an exploration tool for artists at the initial stage of creating a work. Programmers and choreographers jointly modify the scene, but the process may confine the bodily habits of the dancer or the choreographer. Consequently, the expected effects may not be attained, and both sides have to decide the next step with reference to the results of the experiment. He thinks that this method is a very different creative path from directly making visual effects with technology. Moreover, it is also an alternative concept of treating technology: “Artists may even try to keep the effects and movement texture achieved during the experiment with the software, then gradually diminish the use of technology. In the end, the software-generated effects can be presented in the production although the audience does not even have a glimpse of the programme.”

程式員和舞蹈藝術家一同參與舞蹈工作坊。

Dance workshop for both programmers and dance artists.

圖片由受訪者提供Photo provided by interviewees

在未有類似RAM的電腦程式之前,舞者要用文字意象和想象力去達到某種身體的質感,但當科技把意象視像化時,便能有助創作者溝通並互相呈現腦海的畫面。但把意象視像化後,會限制創作者的想象力嗎?Adrian回應說:「當科技發展至可以將任何想象都視像化時,我們的想象力就成為了最大的限制。」也許,面對科技的急速發展,如何有效地應用是我們值得思考的問題。

Before computer software like RAM were available, dancers and actors had to accomplish certain movement texture with their imagination. When technology can visualize imageries, their communication among the artists is facilitated, as they can share the pictures in their minds. But will the visualization of imageries limit the imagination of the artists? Yeung replies, “When technology can visualize every image, our imagination becomes the biggest limitation.” Facing the rapid development of technology, how to apply it effectively may be a problem worthy of our thoughts.

RAM Dance Toolkit 的詳細介紹
http://special.ycam.jp/interlab/en/projects/ram/ram_dance_toolkit.html