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Songs of the Elastic Hallon:
Interactive Improvisational Environment

John Toenjes

Tori Heeb,
Leley Wehrle,
Steve May
Stephen West,
John Toenjes (keyboard)

Ben Smith,
John Toenjes

Artist Bios:

Tori Heeb, Lesley Wehrle, Steve May, and Stephen West are all BFA students at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Ben Smith is currently working toward a DMA in Composition at the Univer-sity of Illinois. His recent work involves interactive, 3D, computer generated environments in combina-tion with real-time music composition/ performance systems.

Songs of the Elastic Halloon is a sort of a four-ring circus of music, video, and dance improvisation. Performers sing a vocal loop, improvising on randomly appearing lines of the lyric, and record their singing by pressing the buttons of a Wii controller. This video is immediately made into a balloon-shaped head floating in a 3D theaterscape, and loops its song. The performer in the middle of the stage who is simulteneously both onstage and in the 3D theaterscape, then "grabs" a floating head, choosing which one he wants to manipulate with the Wii controller, and moves it and reshapes it according to his movement. The sound of the vocal also changes in response to this movement, and the sound travels around the audience in relation to its position in the virtual theaterscape. When the performer is satisfied with the new musical mix, he "parks" the head by pressing another Wii button. The object is to create an evolving musical and video texture for a new way to imagine the time-based arts.

The walls of the 3D theaterscape are "painted" in real time by another performer, using a motion-capture spray painting booth the apply bright colored graffitti in an "action" painting response to the dance she is observing in front of her.



Nov. 2007, University of Illinois Krannert Center for the Performing Arts (premiere)

Upcoming, July 2008: Ingenuity Festival, Cleveland, OH

Performance inquiries:

Songs of the Elastic Halloon is available for performance. We can also do workshops and lecture demonstrations with your community or students. Also, a DVD is available of the dance. Contact me to request a copy, and to schedule a performance and/or other activities revolving around this dance.

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JT's Musings & Doings

John Toenjes

907 1/2 W Nevada St.
Urbana, IL 61801



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