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Butch Rovan: Studies in Movement: Re-envisioning the work of Étienne-Jules Marey

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Butch Rovan is a composer, performer and Co-Director of meme@brown (Multimedia & Electronic Music Experiments @Brown), Department of Music, Brown University.

  • Distinguished Lecture
When Feb 15, 2007
from 04:30 PM to 06:00 PM
Where Strathcona Music Building, 555 Sherbrooke St. West, C-209
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This talk will discuss my new multimedia opera “Studies in Movement”, which pays homage to the great French physiologist Étienne-Jules Marey (1830-1904). Through his pioneering work with sensor devices and graphical tracing, to his work with stop-action photography, Marey sought to break down locomotion in order to learn how humans and animals moved in the natural world. His findings, which led to both modern aviation and the modern film industry, ultimately transformed modern vision. Picturing time as discrete, frozen moments, Marey’s machines permitted new forms of perception that would anticipate the future of modern art and, in many ways, the digital age. In this sense, one might say that Marey’s research gave rise to contemporary media culture.

My new work  “Studies in Movement” is an experimental drama based on Marey’s unique visual legacy, the idea for each “study” being drawn from Marey’s writings, photographs and drawings. My talk will therefore begin by presenting a broad picture of Marey himself and then finish with an account of a single study, “Le vol des oiseaux,” for solo violin, live video and live interactive electronics.

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