G A M E • S E T • M A T C H  



and beyond


  [ Robert Rauschenberg, Open Score, 1966 ] MORE IMAGES
DEPARTURE POINT Misuse can mean crossing wires, either literally or figuratively. Rauschenberg's synaesthetic performance Open Score [1966] crossed perceptual wires between the senses of hearing and vision. The first movement was a tennis match between the artist Frank Stella and a tennis professional. A specially built FM radio transmitter fit in the handle of each racquet. Each time the ball hit the strings of the racquet, a contact microphone picked up the "BONG," which was amplified through 12 speakers around the Armory. One stage light went out with each "BONG." When the area was completely dark, a crowd of 300 people entered. Infra red television cameras picked up the group's movements and projected these images to three large screens seen by the audience.


crosses borders between artistic and technological sectors
involves co-authored or inter authored creation processes from specialists from a number of different disciplines
uses a number of forms/formats - live performance and web, video, gallery, etc
can be made for public spaces, theatres, etc
is partly based in telematics [remote real time connection between 2 or more spaces using audio visual internet transmission]
is from multicultural/intercultural groupings - locally or/and internationally
involves industry partners
allows the engagement of the public/audience as a creative user


Research strand: Responsive Environments for Networked Performance
Activity: Live Art/ Performance Event/ Physical Theatre/ Dance


GAME SET MATCH is a split location, dramatized game of tennis that combines the simulated and the real. It is a revamp of Rauschenberg's performance “Open Score” [1966] through an infusion of contemporary technology. It is rather Open Source than Open Score, as the development of the project occurs through a process of information sharing during a succession of worklabs and events. Competitive aspects of both physical sport and electronic gaming play a significant role. In this drama there are winners and losers. GAME SET MATCH establishes an immediate common ground between the audience and the performance where familiar game rules are initially clear. Deviations from the game occur in the fuzzylogical interplay of networked humans and machines and the glitches that occur when incompatible systems attempt to communicate. It is by utilizing this inevitable resistance creatively that we find our artistic expression.

The tennis court is physically split in half - each half situated in a geographically separated location, but connected by the Internet. The players, the court officials and the audience see and hear the other half of the court via audio-visual [video] transmission via the Internet. In other words, GAME SET MATCH involves the notion of telepresence in a similar manner to Paul Sherman’s “Telematic Dreaming” [1992]. However, where as “Telematic Dreaming” relies on the empathic reaction to the “sensing of the other” through visual mapping of two separate spaces, GAME SET MATCH demands a physical human reaction to physical trajectories [balls] that are set in motion as a direct response to events that occur within these two remote locations. Read on!

The players are equipped with cable-free sensory devices [eg. muscle/flex sensors] on their hand/wrists that transmit data about the impact of the ball on the racket, and their consequent “shot”. Additionally, each time a ball is hit by a player its flight path is tracked electronically. When the server strikes the ball, the sensory impact and tracking data of the ball in flight is transferred via the Internet to a customized automated ball feeder in the other location that consequently releases a ball corresponding to the received data. The flight path of the ball on the server side of the court determines the flight path on the receiving side of the court. The game continues in this manner until a point is won, and the process is repeated until the match reaches its conclusion.

The speed of the release of the ball from the ball feeder is determined by the transmission and reception speed of the Internet connection, as is the lag in the video transmission between the two locations. When the ball flies over the tennis net into the darkness beyond, its physical-ness also disappears, but its data body continues its journey across the Internet. The tennis net therefore marks the final frontier between the tennis net and the Internet, and the ball exists as pure data only for the duration of time it takes for its message to be received on the other side of the court. When the ball - and I say “the ball” because even though it is not the same physical ball, it acts in accordance to the data body of the original ball and therefore retains the kinesthetic properties of the original ball – re-emerges out of darkness on the receiver side, a time lag has occurred which is in discord to regular tennis, and places additional pressure on the players. Therefore, times of departure and arrival throw what could almost be described as a regular tennis match out of sync. This deviation from the norm transforms the game into a live performance where the dramaturgical evolution caused by waiting and anticipation is highly dynamic and unpredictable.

The sensory and tracking data described previously [also described as the balls’ data body] is not only used to determine the balls’ kinesthetic passage through space. It is also converted to audio-visual media; a sound and light organ that enhances the dynamics of the performance accentuating the release of tension as the players strike the ball, an enhancement of its passage through space, the calm-before-the-storm as players, public and court officials wait for the ball to emerge from the darkness, and the sudden explosive arrival of the ball in its new location. All these elements amplify tension and highlight suspense. GAME SET MATCH becomes a choreography - a structured improvisation that has the potential to be perceived as dance.

In GAME SET MATCH it is important that both the choice of the two host locations and the choice of the two tennis players adds an additional contextual framework to the performance. To draw the public in both locations even closer together by providing them with more common ground and, hence increasing the dramaturgical tension, we will provide them with the opportunity to bet on the outcome of the match via a custom written, electronic betting system. In this manner GAME SET MATCH has its own economy system that goes beyond the selling of entrance tickets to the public. Court officials such as lines people, foot fault callers, ball people, etc, will assist referees in each location to determine the outcome of the match. The referees’ decision shall be final, despite disputes that may occur due to inevitable cross-wires of communication between the two locations and glitches in the system.

While GAME SET MATCH utilizes videocasting specifically for the Internet, I would like to stress that this performance is targeted towards audiences situated in the two halves of the tennis court, ie. in the two physical, geographically separated locations. We will however publish the address of the respective video streams on the website of GAME SET MATCH at www.liveart.org for those who wish to log in.


We are developing and testing prototype parts of GAME SET MATCH through a series of worklabs and residencies. In addition to this we are also promoting the project nationally and internationally through conference participation and artist presentations.

Current research includes a proposed collaboration with the Steim Institute in Amsterdam for the development of a custom made software for video tracking that can tackle the fast frame rate of high speed video cameras. Additionally, the issue of how to interface the ball feeders will be addressed.


Motherboard (the art group) may be described as a collective of artists gathered around the core members Per Platou and Amanda Steggell, for various projects. Founded in 1995 in Oslo, the majority of their work has taken the form of installations and performative live art happenings, mediated and modulated by the intermediary influence of the net, and often integrate audience participation and interaction. Through their ambitious vehicles they explore the materiality and resistance of the net as a mediating instance.

[Kevin Foust, 9.9.00]


PER PLATOU [b. 1964, Oslo/Norway]
Studied media theory, criminology, history of ideas and film/drama in Oslo and London. Background in alternative media, mainly F.EKS magazine (90-97) and Radio Nova (84-93). He founded DBUT in 1989, an alternative distribution network, record company and production company for sound, film, art and media. In 1995 he started NOOD, a project dedicated to sound exchange on the internet, have since then directed and produced a number of sound/art works and workshops. Freelance journalist on digital art and hacktivism, and board member of the Norwegian Short Film Festival and UKS.


AMANDA STEGGELL [b. 1965, Yokohama/Japan]
British citizenship, residing in Norway since 1985.
Completed her dance education at London College of Dance and Drama in 1985, and studied choreography at the Norwegian Ballet Academy, Oslo, from 1992-94. Co director of Motherboard since 1995. She has choreographed several works for the stage and screen and worked as guest teacher at several institutions of visual and performing art. Occasional vj, video editor, webmistress, consultant and conference speaker. She has written articles on, and received a series of artist grants for investigation into performance technologies.


ELECTRIC SPORTS [betting system]: STUART ROSENBERG [b.1967, Toronto/Canada]
Stuart Rosenberg is originally from Toronto. He began his artistic career in film-based media, specialising in photography and moving image. He continued his visual development by pursuing the medium of holography while studying at Ontario College of Art and working as a holographic technician/ creative director at Fringe Research/ Interference Gallery in Toronto. Rosenberg then studied at the Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln, where he received his diploma in audio- visual media. He also began researching and developing Internet based projects and created Core War Betting Hill as well as West Bank Ind. He then based himself in New York City developing his personal projects and working commercially with the Internet. He is currently based in Berlin as Artist in Residence at codelab-berlin where he produced his installation Entscheidung.


MOTHERBORD www.liveart.org
ELECTRIC SPORTS www.transmediale.de/votebet/
STEIM www.steim.nl


TENNIS RULES http://news.bbc.co.uk/sportacademy/bsp/hi/tennis/rules/html/default.stm
SPORTS TUTOR BALL MACHINE www.sportstutor.com
• TELEMATIC TIMELINE http://telematic.walkerart.org/timeline/index.html

The MIT Press, Presence, Vol 8 No2, Pages 140-156   Tom Molet, Amaury Aubel, Tolga Capin, Stephane Carion, Elwin Lee, Nadia Magnenat Thalmann, Hansrudi Noser, Igor Pandzic, Gael Sannier and Daniel Thalmann.