Directed by Angie Eng
live video camera: Nancy Meli Walker
Percussion, electronics: Satoshi Takeishi
Cello, electronics, voice: Audrey Chen
Piano: Shoko Nagai
Max Programmer/VideoBass inventor: Michael Egger
New York Electronic Festival at Roulette Intermedium, 2011
Liminal is a cinépoeme concert that continues the tradition of visual music by combining new inventive tools such as the VideoBass, French avant-garde experimental cinema tricks, and customized music/video software (Max, Jitter, VDMX, and Module 8). This collaboration of music and video crosses genres: experimental jazz, neo-abstract expressionism, puppetry, and live experimental cinema.
Liminal is made up of a series of live video music cine poems based upon the concept of liminality, coined by ethnologist, Arnold Van Gennep (1909). Van Gennep defines liminality as the period of transition in traditional rituals after detachment and before integration of the group. Social anthropologist and Theatre artist, Victor Turner expanded upon this idea by applying it to counter-culture movements, modern religions, and communal festivals. Symbols of liminality (eclipse, ceremonial mask, isolation, fear, bridges, wilderness, pilgrimage) and sociological explanations (crisis, mania, ghosts, draught) are integrated into the video with: live drawing, manipulated objects, archival footage, and video shot by Eng.
In one of the cinepoems, Monsters, Eng describes fear inherent in developmental rituals by drawing portraits of film stills taken from classic horror films such as Dracula, Daughters of Horror, and Nosferatu. (see drawings)The rhythm of frantic hand gestures is in dialogue with the unpredictable and aggressive playing of the cello. Another cinepoem, Liminal combines magic squares with archival footage of men crossing and jumping on bridges. In Totemic, a rock is placed centrally with a backdrop of tribal designs and live video of feathers, blocks, and forms as keyholes.
For the premiere of Liminal in 2011 Eng introduced her new instrument the VideoBass invented by swiss engineer/artist Michael Egger. The VideoBass is a unique hardware/software combination for controlling live visuals. Shaped like an electric bass guitar, it relies on the guitar paradigm where the left hand chooses between a wide variety of possible notes, and the right-hand triggers them, nobs change digital effects and a foot pedal captures a live feed.
Support for this project was provided by: Harvestworks, Experimental Television Finishing Funds, Roulette Intermedia, mediaThe foundation inc., Foundation for Contemporary Arts, and The MacDowell Colony for the Arts.