*LOrk digression #3 — The enigmatic performer

  The laptop musician often—not always, but often—appears to the audience as an almost motionless performer, completely absorbed by the computer screen. A significant change in terms of stage presence occurs when the need for constantly monitoring the computer screen diminishes and the musician is invited—or required—to look more at the other performers or conductor. In most cases, however, the engima persists: what is actually going on on stage? Robert Henke writes about this visual disconnect between performance activity and sonic result:
“We have no sense for the kind of work carried out on stage. What we see is that glowing apple in the darkness and a person doing something we cannot figure out even if we are very familiar with the available tools. This scenario is not only unsatisfying for the audience but also for the performing composer. The audience cannot really judge the quality of the performance, only the quality of the underyling musical or visual work, but it might be fooled by a pretentious performer, might compare a complete improvised performance, full of potential failure, with a presentation of a pre-composed and perfectly well-balanced work - without being able to distinguish the two. Also the performer himself might want to be more flexible, might want to interact more, or at least might feel a bit stupid alone with his laptop on a 15 meter long 5 meter deep stage with the audience staring at him, expecting the great show which he will not deliver.”
You can read Robert Henke's full text here.


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