troika (4)

I am republishing here a  process log kept by Marc Coniglio in Facebook during the "DIGITAL BODY" lab sessions that took place at Lake Studios Berlin started September 2nd 2021 with an amazing group of international artists.
Enjoy it!
September 2 2021
Setup for "DIGITAL BODY " is ongoing at the Lake Studios Berlin and today was sensor day.
We have prepared a range of input devices so that once underway nothing would slow the creative juices flowing.
Performance & Technology Laboratory : IMAGE & DATA
Hosted by Mark Coniglio, Benjamin Krieg and Guests
02.09 – 14.09.2021



So happy to serve as a guide during this two-week process at the Lake Studios Berlin, as we attempt to reconsider media and performance, to name the potentials and pitfalls as we seek to see our practice anew.

Digital Body Workshop Journal: Day 1 - Abandoning Preconceived Notions: What are our expectations about performance and media? What are the prejudices and stereotypes we carry inside, our points of excitement and our irritations? We spent several hours exploring these questions during the first day of the workshop. It is our attempt to see the digital materials with fresh eyes so we might put them to use in new and unexpected ways.


Digital Body Workshop Journal: Days 2 + 3: What is an Image? The word slips easily from the tongue, but what do we really mean? We dug in to that topic as Benjamin Krieg shared from his vast body of work with groups like She She Pop and others, as Marlon Barrios Solano pushed us inward and outward with several poetic provocations, and Armando Menicacci led us through a rigorous, analytic examination of the structural implications of the word itself. We responded to all of this by having each participant create and share rapidly improvised scenarios comprised only of a projector connected to a video camera in relation to the performer and audience – each of which led to long, rich discussions of the implications and possible meanings they portrayed. When thinking about performance, what does the word image conjure for you?


Digital Body Workshop Journal: Days 4 + 5: The Barrier of Technology. After two full days of working only with the technology of a camera, a video projector, and a performer, we opened the door to more complex tools like Isadora itself, but also robotic cameras, green screens, a Rokoko motion capture suit, and more. Immediately upon doing so, the energy in the room changed from one of quiet experimentation and extensive reflection to one of excitement ("Wow!!!"), desire and curiosity ("I want to...." or "How can i...?") and at least some frustration ("Why can't I get this working?"). These tools and devices can offer fresh and compelling new modes of expression, but their complexity can also impede a free-flowing artistic process. Please join the conversation in the comments below by answering the question we'll be asking next: what does media/technology give us, but what also does it take away?
Foto: Benjamin Krie12249590893?profile=original
Digital Body Workshop Journal, Week 1 – "What is it?": For the last six days, we have attempted to (re)encounter the image: to imagine it, to read it, to wrangle the hardware and software required to record and render it. We did this within the frame of our overarching goal: to abandon preconceived notions and see these materials in a new way. As we start week 2, I ask myself, "how did we do?"
In the end, it is impossible to ignore or deny thousands of years of seeing and making images, from cave paintings to virtual reality. It's in our bones. Yet, we managed to keep ourselves in a constant state of questioning. As Bebe Miller wisely advised us to do last night, we kept stepping back and asking ourself one question, over, and over, and over again.
"What is it?"
For me, embracing that question was the great success of this first week. Now we will see if we can do the same with "data."
Foto: Benjamin Krieg


Digital Body Workshop Journal, Days 7 & 8– Big Data: As we did with the word "technology" in the first week, we started the second week by asking "what is data?" This question could be debated ad infinitum, but here I will mention three crucial points: "data is interpretation and representation", "data is a reduction", and perhaps most importantly "data has value". But how does this apply to using data, from a performer or from the world, in a performance?
Our guest speakers Ruth Gibson + Bruno Martelli (, and Bebe Miller ( helped us dig in to those points with presentations that touched on technologies ranging from virtual reality to motion capture, though they continuously kept their focus on aesthetics and expression.
With this in mind, we began to navigate "the gear": this is a sensor, this is the kind of data it measures and represents, this is how we get it into the computer, and this is what we can do with it – practical realities that can often seem at odds with the artistry.
To assimilate and balance the theory, the "how to", and the desire to express and share our artistic vision, remains the goal of this second week.
📷 Benjamin Krieg
Digital Body No. 1 Journal - Day 9 - Data Invasion: Today's pictures feature only the participants of the lab, because we spent nearly two hours today vigorously responding to the works presented by our guest speaker Christopher Kondek. (
Each of the works dug into the topic of data in a different way – the stock market, our heart beats, lie detectors and more. But none did so more provocatively than "You Are Out There" – where audience members were asked to give their identification cards as a deposit for a set of headphones, not knowing that the faces and names on those personal documents would be projected, scanned, seemingly shredded (it was faked) and otherwise exposed to the entire audience in various ways.
This highly political work led to an intense discussion among us: could an art piece ethically draw attention to matters of data privacy by violating that privacy?
I cannot reproduce the incredibly well articulated points that so many of our intrepid explorers offered in a Facebook post. Suffice to say, thanks to Chris' presentation and the ensuing discussion, we could no longer pretend that data was just a stream of numbers captured from a performer's body. Losing control of your data, especially for those who live under authoritarian regimes, is not a game. It is a matter of life and death – a notion that will weigh strong on our minds as we continue through this week.
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In days of old, a computer was an object of awe that had to be handled with great care lest it fail. Today, the computer is just a variation on a wrench or Swiss Army Knife: it’s a household tool used to fix something, to make something, to bash something, to locate something, to tighten something. It is a means to an end that can be wielded wildly.


That’s why this year’s workshop is expressly designed for physical performers – anyone whose primary expressive means is through the action of the body. Our idea is to use computer technology and algorithmic thinking to inspire new ways of devising and organizing movement, a network of digital constraints within which we want you to become a whirling dervish.


To that end, each morning begins with a two-hour movement exercise designed to closely mimic – in physical terms – the technological process that will be explored later that same day. In the afternoon, you’ll learn how make a technological implementation of that physical process in the software Isadora®. Everyone will end up with a very similar structural framework – a tiny “engine” of interaction.


Then, both individually and as a group, we will rigorously explore several questions: how does this technological system inform, dictate, change my movement choices? What conflicts do I feel between my body’s desire and the imposition of the system? Can I, or should I, subvert it?


Each day we will inject these interaction-engines with “fresh fuel”: new visual and aural material, altered action, rigorous rearranging, tender touches, and dramatic destruction.


By the end of the workshop you will have discovered the computer as a tool of intervention in your movement process, will have gained a bit of technical know-how, and – most importantly – will leave with a greater understanding of how digital systems can lead you to surprising compositional outcomes.


When: July 15 – 19, 2013

Time: 10:00AM – 4:00PM, Monday through Friday

Where: Studio 2, 810 SE Belmont Street, Portland, OR 97214

Fee: $750 (Includes a one-year license for Isadora)

Application Deadline: May 7, 2013

Notification of Acceptance: No later than May 17, 2013

Non-Refundable Deposit Deadline: $250 Due by May 31, 2013.

NOTE: Troika Ranch requires a minimum of 6 confirmed participants in order to hold the workshop. If less then 6 deposits are received by May 31, 2013, the workshop may be cancelled. Cancellation would be announced by June 3, 2013.

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Congratulations to Troika Ranch for your new PBS documentary LOOPDIVER: The Journey of a Dance.

The half-hour documentary follows the creative efforts of company members over a two year period as they struggle with the extreme physical and emotional demands of creating an experimental new work.


dance-techTV exclusive:

Watch excerpts of In Plane, a 1994 solo performed by Dawn Stoppiello wearing the MIDIdancer (a wireless interface designed and engineerd by Mark Coniglio) controlling the sound and video with the bending of the joints: knees, elbows and wrists.

Watch live streaming video from dancetechtv at

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This is a crucial text for "the field"(from Troika Ranch's profile): Troika Ranch is the collaborative vision of artists Mark Coniglio and Dawn Stoppiello. Established in 1994, and based in New York City, Troika Ranch produces live performances, interactive installations, and digital films, all of which combine traditional aspects of these forms with advanced technologies. The artists’ mission in producing this wide range of art experiences is to create artwork that best reflects and engages contemporary society. The name Troika Ranch refers to Coniglio and Stoppiello’s creative methodology, which involves a hybrid of three artistic disciplines, dance/theater/media (the Troika), in cooperative interaction (the Ranch). This method preceded the organization Troika Ranch, which was formed as a means to support the artists’ engagement in this process. During the 1990’s, Coniglio, Stoppiello and their company Troika Ranch were among the pioneers in the field that came to be known as Dance and Technology. They performed in festivals and venues internationally and were greatly sought after as guest artists, teachers, and lecturers. In response to the desire in the international arts community to understand this emerging genre, Coniglio and Stoppiello began developing educational programs. Among their public outreach activities are workshops, lectures, online and traditional publications, websites, software and hardware. Having conceptualized and invented much of the technology, equipment, and techniques currently in use, their expertise is unprecedented. The educational programs Troika Ranch provides have become a significant part of their contribution to the arts. As the use of technology in the arts has developed and integrated over the last decade, the need for the separate moniker Dance and Technology has dissolved. Troika Ranch’s present concerns correspondingly reflect this broader scope, expanding across genres and pioneering new frontiers. As innovators and visionaries, Coniglio and Stoppiello produce art that values live interaction – between viewer and viewed, performer and image, movement and sound, people and technology. It is time-based but typically includes an element of spontaneity, in that the events and images that unfold lie within a certain range but are not exactly replicable. As authors, they establish images, direct performances, determine time frames, and devise technologies. The works may be presented as performances, installations, or in portable formats. In sum, Troika Ranch engages in creative endeavors using all that contemporary invention has to offer. The company has received major funding from the Jerome Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Arts Council England as well as from the Brooklyn Arts Council, Meet the Composer and Art/NY’s Nancy Quinn Fund. The company tours nationally and internationally with recent performances at the Laban Centre London (UK), the Forum Neues Musictheater (Germany), ISEA/ZeroOne Festival (CA) and 3LD Art & Technology Center (NYC). Where are you based? Brooklyn, New York / Berlin, Germany Area of interest on performance and new media All. How did you learn about Marlon Barrios Solano Enviornments and applications that you use the most for your projects Isadora, Eyesweb, mocap, Final Cut ( or any other video editing), camera work, Second Life, Protools (other sound editing software), robotic devices How do you train yourself or your performers. How do you approach your embodied practices? what kind of technique do you use? Interaction is the word that singularly defines the driving force of our artistic practice. Whether it is between audience and performer, performer and image, movement and sound, or human and machine, interaction as an idea fundamentally shapes our work from its inspiration to its presentation. Interaction first comes into play as we collaboratively develop materials for a work with our fellow artists and performers. Recognizing that each human being possesses a vast and unique set of life experiences, we encourage all involved in the creative process to take on a role of authorship. We push our collaborators to locate the intersection of their personal background with the overarching theme of a work, and encourage them to use this connection to deeply inform the manner and method of creating and realizing materials. The second instance of interaction extends this collaborative authorship into the moment of presentation. Our groundbreaking software and hardware senses movement and vocalizations and creates a way for performer’s to directly influence the final presentation of visual and sonic digital materials. In our work the performer on stage or the viewer in an installation becomes the final arbiter of the material’s timing, dynamics and organization, and thus are key collaborators in the penultimate creative moment of composition. The final moment of interaction occurs upon the work’s presentation to an audience. We intend to present a dense and highly physical theater of ideas that echoes the multiplicity and maximum sensory capacity of our time and culture. Visual imagery, dance, music and text implode into a flux point from which we leverage specific properties from each discipline to powerfully communicate on multiple levels. This density often leads to our works being described as experimental; they are, in fact, grounded in traditional theatrical values. This is because our work is content-driven: the materials in a work are present to serve the narrative arc. The relationships – between man and machine, man and woman, action and image – exist to drive expression and present –and translate– the essence of the human condition. In the end, our aim is to examine an ongoing human effort: the desire to integrate the most basic expressions of the soul with the most complex creations of the mind.
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