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Gail Scott White

Artist's Statement

Artist’s Statement on New Media Technology and Live Performance

It is easy to love new media technologies as they can be used to save lives and enrich minds. It is also easy to hate new media technologies as they can be used to destroy lives and numb minds.

Artists are quick to put new materials, tools and technologies to creative uses. Since humans first crushed pigments and drew on cave walls, artists have made work reflecting and questioning the events of their lives. I live on the outskirts of the DC beltway, a place that is plugged-in, on-camera, and data-transferred. I am immersed in technology, at home, at work and at play. I could no more separate technology from my art making than I could count the number of times a day some sliver of my image, words or voice is encoded in ones and zeros.

As a 3D animator and new media scenographer, I work with one foot in virtual space and the other foot in the built environment as I collaboratively conceive, design and create complex, integrated and interactive digital environments for theater, opera, dance, music, performance art, installations and public spaces. I find new media technology to be useful in the conceptual and developmental stages of my work. Virtual models allow me to consider changes in content, context, scale, light, surface, position and point of view with relative ease. In virtual space, there is no gravity and all materials cost the same price.

On the production side, I use new media technologies to aid in the creation of Live Movies, a hybrid art form that interactively synthesizes animation and cinematic art, theatrical and musical elements with built environments and live performance.  Real-time data streaming, interactive show control systems and projection mapping are some of the tech tools needed for live performers to interact with simulations, animations and video feeds, and to emerge from or disappear into projected environments.

Finally, I want to remain critically engaged with new media, never falling in love with technology for technology’s sake. Instead, I hope to focus these technological possibilities on the social promise of the arts to cross boundaries, to serve communities, to contribute to the cultivation of an engaged and informed public, and to provide inventive and alternative ways for the live arts + technology to come together to form something meaningful and moving that had not existed before.

– Gail Scott White

Gail Scott White
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