In many of Michael Saup's pieces, sounds get a spatial shape. Mostly, people can enter into a relationship with those shapes, and the interface never becomes a technical corset. Thanks to his 1995 Binary Ballistic Ballet installation, ballet dancers can freely dance with colourful and moving words, controlled by music, whereas in the Pulse8 installation, chromosome- and snake-like snippets flutter every which way when a random sound is heard. During DEAF95, the German artist and researcher will combine both installations.
Together with dancers of the Frankfurter Ballett, Saup filled a database with words that appeared on video screens as colourful and lithely moving series of letters, controlled by music, during a performance of William Forsythe's Eidos Telos choreography. The choreography was largely determined but the dancers had the freedom to move their bodies in response to phrases like 'Rotating Description' or simple words like 'Crack' or 'Pizza'. A beautiful synthesis of the real and computer generated spaces was realised by having a camera capture images of the dancers and mixing those with the spatial dance of the virtual letters on the screens.
The middle piece of the choreography that premiered in Frankfurt in January 1995 highlighted computer generated fantasy shapes of light and their slowly dying light trails. Like silent virtual dancers they shot through space on a video screen controlled by the clear sounds of a female voice telling a beautiful story.
In his Pulse8 installation, Saup also has different objects react to sound; small chromosome- and snakelike objects and, in the background, a larger, sometimes transparent shape that is a three-dimensional representation of an ultrasonic image of his as yet unborn son. Whistling a ditty is enough to make the shapes whirl every which way and change shape.
In the combined version of Pulse/9 and Binary Ballistic Ballet presented during DEAF95, visitors can control the floating shapes in three dimensions on flat screens, either with their voices or with a mouse.