elicit & en/traced

elicit is one of four interactive installations in the Body Language suite, which explores and amplifies the continuity between text and the body. It is a large-scale, interactive installation where every movement of the viewer, small or sweeping, births fluidly animated text on screen as continuously shifting animations, varying characters and colors that float out from and around our movements. And these, in turn, elicit fluid performances from us. The software responds to small movements, writing letters onscreen slowly for us to read, or to rapid passersby, whose full bodies birth hundreds of flying characters, impossible to decode. Here the spaces between language and meaning, movement and stasis, stuttering and silence, are framed as ongoing and embodied. elicit situates us as part of an emergent and enfleshed language, where possibly infinite meanings, or none at all, are materialized.

en/traced was performed at elicit’s premiere in Johannesburg in 2001. A collaboration with dancer / choreographer Jeanette Ginslov, it is a composition of relationships between a highly trained human body, an enfleshed machine, and a real-time programmer. The three fractally realized parts form an extra-ordinary body whose organs are distributed between them.

In the en/traced trialogue, the machine watches the form, eliciting text with its motion; the programmer watches the screen, beckoning these characters with his keys; and each answers the other two in turn. The relationship between the three bodies is also a body itself – an/other form of consciousness.

This composition disrupts the usual relations of looking. Viewers are invited to see the spaces between and in ‘seeing,’ they are eliciting another new body between parts. This fractal composition begs questions of experience, relationships, consciousness and enfleshment.