SYSTEM DESIGN FOR IMPROVISED SERIAL STORYTELLING

TV SERIES

MINIMALIST SYSTEM                                

My time-related work is driven by systems. Improvisation-, conversation-, choreography-systems. Only a bad artist thinks he needs a good idea. A good artist does not need anything. (Ad Reinhardt). A system is an idea to avoid ideas – a few rules replacing a scenario. That gets rid of the problem of illusionism, … which is riddance of one of the most salient and objectionable relics of European art. (Donald Judd). I use systems since I started making videos, in New York, 1990.

SABIHA

LOGOA monologue composed of advertising phrases. By stacking variations of the same words at a different pitch, music occurs.

When we were thirteen, my sister and I had a competition who would be the first to get laid. We both knew the importance of being a trophy. No brains necessary. Not that I NOW think brains are necessary. Mind is a pure expanse of space, in which things vanish naturally and leave no trace (Longchen Rabjam). My sister and I were very much like Genevieve in Michele Bernstein‘s novel Tous les chevaux du roiShe’d like to be in all things no more than the idea that PEOPLE have of her.

Focusing on systems, I create works with themes like narcissism …. uhm sex, masochism: the Young Girl specter as articulated in Premiers Matériaux pour une Théorie de la Jeune-Fille of the Comité Invisible in their magazine Tiqqun. My approach looks into life as a Young-Girl. It doesn’t primarily illustrate dominant gender or feminist discourse – it rather explores the relationship between working with systems and the contents that oozes out – whether desired or not.

Please boys, let me shine my light on the fragile Emptiness of the Young Girl.

LOGOperfectly-you

CHOREOGRAPHY

A specific movement idiom permeates the entire movie. PERFECTLY YOU is very choreographed and artificial – stiff elegance, well maintained, with detailed self-control. Disciplined and perfectionist – tarted up like a middle-class homemaker. The girls as well as the men narcissistic show off body parts gesturing like in a 1950s striptease, admiring themselves as if they were expensive cars or a new refrigerator in an old commercial.

I tried and tried when I was younger to learn something about love, and since it wasn’t taught in school I turned to the movies for some clues about what love is and what to do about it.
Andy Warhol From A to B and Back Again pg. 48

tata+kia+favoritperfectly youThe movie PERFECTLY YOU contains three improvised conversations that were inspired by communication like in Andy Warhol films and in screwball  comedies. Three groups of three friends – always called TATA, KIA and FAVORIT – each with their very own conversation traditions, revealing the specific character of their friendships.

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I liked the improvised conversations in PERFECTLY YOU. After trying out some systems not unlike jazz improvisation in movies like GIRLFRIENDS, DEPRESSIVA or SKYPE, the logical next step seems to be unscripted episodic storytelling as a TV-series or as an internet-series that propagates in a rhizome kind of way. Structure, contents and characters would be generated by mainly three improvisation-systems, containing repetition of errors as an essential component.

THANK YOU THELONIOUS MONK

GIRLFRIENDS4minigirlfriendsTRANSPARENT     How do I create a superb character-driven system that feels like it’s alive? With simple and renewable control elements and multiplayer mode? How do I get riveting, concise and concentrated action? Really funny comedy and character dialogues? A construction that offers plenty of performer-features, in addition to an adult modus operandi?

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MODUS OPERANDI

                               Performers direct themselves or are directed.                               Every episode has two directors, who can  also choose to direct more than only one performer.

The directors choose location and time (continuity) together. Each director/performer chooses their own character/appearance/costume and especially their own actions and reactions. Which can be anything: documenting, political, drama, tragedy, comedy, etc etc. Full-blown love-story, unadulterated fantasy, sciencefiction or eventually just an everyday conversation.

   An actor / director that seems to be really interesting, will return in later episodes    A DIRECTOR / PERFORMER APPEARS IN AT LEAST TWO SEQUELS

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One exciting feature of an unscripted TV-series is that it can only improve in time. Why? In contrast to most conventional TV series, content, character and structure of the narrative depend on inexhaustible systems rather than on writers that sooner or later inevitably run on empty.
In addition, the reproduction system of this TV-series operates by replacing one of the two collaborators with another one in the next sequel: a new director/performer or great directors/performers that already appeared before. Only the most interesting performers will return in new episodes – creating an ever-increasing density of riveting characters.

This technique also has the potential to generate a new type of fiction/faction. Improvisation-systems draw and build upon an anarchistic approach. They allow the participants to foster a kind of self-representation, giving them the agency to generate and elaborate upon their own myths and legends. The feasibility to create one’s own story serves as a kind of relief from a describing and classifying media-landscape. Exempting from any kind of bias except their own. 

SAMPLES

skype-3concept2HOW TO CREATE AN INTERESTING, HIGHLY CONDENSED SEQUENCE, IMPROVISED  AND ARTIFICIAL AT THE SAME TIME

3 IMPROVISATION SYSTEMS

CONTROLLED IMPROVISATION

REFLECTION TIME BETWEEN THE RESPONSES OF THE PERFORMERS : CREATES FOOTAGE

In this system, substance is generated in the time period when the performers have to think about their actions and reactions. The directors/actors meet regularly for a limited amount of time. When the shooting starts one actor (director) says or does something, and then the other one responds to them (or chooses not to), then the first actor reacts to the second one, the second performer responds again to the first – this goes on and on. The essential difference between this kind of scene and genuine social interaction is the time between reactions – a long enough time to find a suitable response. They can think at length about their responses, and even sleep on their ideas. The main point in this technique is only responding once they have formulated their answer or decided what they will do. They may use quotes to generate dialogue, cite actions from people, magazines, internet, etc. We come across forms in a kind of cultural or historical supermarket … An artwork’s success, in a way, depends on its capacity to co-opt an existing situation and to be co-opted in return. (John Armleder).

REPETITION

REPEATING ANY KIND OF PROBLEMS AND CONTINUING DIFFERENTLY: CREATES CONTENT & UNITY

Thelonious Monk says that errors don’t exist in Jazz-improvisation: repeating a mistake creates a pattern. Imitating him by repeating sentences and actions from problematic previously recorded parts and continuing with different responses generates new scenario-threads and conversation-strings. Power-ups that create a bewildering abundance of facets, simultaneously giving a sequence cohesion and a theme. This approach is as modern as Monk: actually extracting contents from malfunction – as might be appropriate for a contemporary narrative: There’s always a sense of highly developed structures in the process of disintegration …. it’s a condition that’s irreversible, it’s a condition that’s moving towards a gradual equilibrium. (Robert Smithson)

AESTHETIC IDENTITY

EACH ACTOR / DIRECTOR HAS THEIR OWN CAMERA, EDITOR, MUSIC: CREATES CHARACTER

A performer is part of the audio-visual entity director, camera operator, editor, and composer. When the production is adequately funded, the performers will each have their own individual camera operators and their own separate editors, so that there is a visual distinction between the ways they are portrayed. Sound and music support this principle too e.g. by having specific tunes for frequently appearing actors or locations. This approach generates aesthetic identity based on audiovisual means and less on psychologically crafted constructs. Yielding both a consistent individual aura and the specific character of a sequence.

SOUNDTRACKS

soundcloud BOHEMIENINE

SYSTEM based PERFORMANCES

fluffySKINNY2

LE CUIR TRIOMPHANTThe physical possibilities of the costumes (made by Birgit Neppl) define movements and choreography. This costume is based on a leather-fetish drawing by Carlo from the Book Le Cuir Triomphant.

THOUGHTSContains 6 improvised dialogues written by Daniel Barroca with Esteban Piedra León and Helen Dowling, Matthew Lutz-Kinoy and Jean Charles de Quillacq with me.

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