Intermedia Art  Sculpture   Digital Art   Inner Eye  Painting


In A Circle

John Toth collaborates IN A CIRCLE

In A Circle is a sculptural fabric installation that I designed for the Art and Technology Circus. The installation of fabric is a structure for activity and performance. Within this performance structure I have asked choreographers, composers, visual artists, technicians, cyber artists, dancers, musicians, singers, poets, actors and performance artists to collaborate. Thinking on the multi definitions of a circus led us to focus on the "circus ring" or "circle".

The mission of
In A Circle is to refine the definition of the collaboration of art and technology, emphasizing the use of technology guided by the natural process of art making. The exploration and demonstration of the lowest of low technologies to the newest and highest levels of technology (Silicon Graphics, FORE Systems, ImageTel International, Oki Network Technologies) will reveal the meaning of technology as a system of principles rather than a history of tools. The quality of choices in manipulating the tools towards intentionality and meaning is the technology. A pencil is a link in a chain of rings that provided a technology of externalizing thoughts, emotions, spirituality’s and other senses into a tangible reference. Technology is the system that gives our voice an audience. Idea becomes substance because of technology.

Technology does not have something to say; people do! In all senses of the definition we homo sapiens have been exploring technology for hundreds of thousands of years. Technologies give rise to many ways to communicate. The choice of which technology to use, gives our ideas articulation, nuance and variation. The same “idea” can be expressed in many ways.

Art and technology implies there is a connection between the choice of tool and process as it relates to intent. As communicators we must find many ways to express ourselves, so as we move through life experiences we articulate our ideas for each new encounter.

What computer technology does, is give us a broad range of choices in output. Variation on variation is at your finger tip. As choice makers, the goal of art making becomes exploring relationships between artistic tools and expression. What do we really want to say? How can we articulate the ways in which we say it so that each new audience understands.

In A Circle uses a circle as a metaphor and structure for defining a system of communication and interaction.

It is no surprise that the early theaters of Greece were circular with all the seats facing inward. Another circular structure is Stonehenge and it is theorized that from the center a viewer could look outward sensing ones place in the cosmos. As a metaphor, a circle has many meanings. The word circus is of Latin origin meaning circle. A circus is a place where activity occurs within a ring.

          In A Circle

At the circus, the ring gives focus to a performance. There are also three ring circus’s where the coordination of many acts take place at one time.

In A Circle is a collaboration that will use the internet and other technologies to link groups of participants in many sites and cities. The core collaboration at this point is the linking of live performances in Buffalo and New York City via the internet I will create fabric installations in multiple sites that will define the structure and framework for performance and art. Artists in Buffalo include composers, poets, video artists, musicians and visual artists. Artists in New York City will provide choreography, dance , theater, video, opera, composers, musicians, visual arts, cyber arts. Teleconferencing and live internet connections will bring interactive possibilities between performers at different sites. ( a dancer in one city will duet and improvise with a dancer in another city or a visual artist and musician might interact with several dancers in other cities).

There are many distant interactions that take place every day. The question that comes to mind is, What is the quality of the interaction? Is it satisfying and engaging? Does the quality of the communication make us want to come back?

I have been creating a very dense layered fabric environment in my studio that is a kind-of 3 dimensional Jackson Pollock or a 3-D map of the web of the universe. While I was constructing this room sized environment I noticed different kinds of behavior that the installation seemed to provoke. I noticed the recurring cycles or levels: Below, In The Middle, Above. There were many transitions between these levels: Rising, Sinking, Floating, Spinning, Getting Stuck, Breaking Free, etc. A question for collaborators is, How do you define these states of being? Some examples of what is Below a circle: the earth, the womb, fertility, the lower chakras, the intestines, water, death, rebirth, sleep, dreams, drunken monkey, green, nature, soil,...

In A Circle: Below
Dance: Choreography; Victoria Anderson
Dancer: Sarah Carl
Music: Composer; Michael Calquhan & Don Metz, "Start Here"
New Jazz Orchestra
Sculpture: John Toth
Video: John Toth

Below begins with the sparse breathing sounds of diggerydoo and flute creating an arid atmosphere for dancer Sarah Carl who seems to be sleeping in a white fabric landscape. Is the low vibrating voice of some ancient dream stirring the sleeping dancer into stretching gestures that find root in a labyrinth of multiple times? Are the video images of dancers on the walls of fabric mirrors of what is to come?

Transition: John King

In A Circle: In The Middle
Dance: Choreography; Victoria Anderson
Dancers: Victoria Anderson, Sarah Carl
Music: Composer; Don Metz, "Camille’s Song"
Sculpture: John Toth
Video: John Toth

In The Middle begins with a solo guitar pattern that digitally layers an atmosphere for a chorus of whirling, spinning dancers suspended in circles that form a web within a sea of white fabric. Video images of land and sky bend into distorted patterns of nature on the move. In The Middle is a blur of activity and best describes the energy of a three ring circus where many things are happening at once. This is the full, multi-layered action of the present.

Transition: Jean Taylor, Mark DeGarmo

In A Circle: Above
Dance: Choreography; Lynn Brown & Lynn Marie Ruse
Dancers: Lynn Brown & Lynn Marie Ruse
Music: Composer; Don Metz, "Turbulence"
Sculpture: John Toth
Video: Ed Sobola,  John Toth

Above is getting it. Where technique and self, dissolve effortlessly, to sense the whole. In the aural wash of Metz’ "Turbulence" an organic orchestral flow rises with a ring of dancers.

Another Definition
There is another definition from the Webster dictionary that describes technology as the system by which a society provides its members with those things needed or desired. Here, technology can be thought of, as a series of methods and procedures that create a system that only becomes natural when it satisfies our desires and needs.

How can In A Circle be used as a technology that provides its members with those things needed or desired? Maybe by starting to define the systems and tools that we already use and those now extinct, a meaningful definition will arise. Asking questions reveals meaning. What goes on in a circle? In what way does a system satisfy our desire? At what point do needs, draw us into systems? How many systems do you use? How have these systems changed through time? Which systems are based on needs? Which systems are based on desire? What will these tools and systems look like in the future?

In A Circle
In A Circle

copyright John Toth, 1997-2003

Intermedia Art  Sculpture   Digital Art  Inner Eye  Painting

John Toth Ars Bellum all images copyright 2003 John Toth