On March 1, 2002, Dia Center for the Arts will launch Tap, a work created by James Buckhouse in collaboration with Holly Brubach for Dia's series of artists' projects for the web. Tap may be seen at www.diacenter.org/buckhouse. Dia and the artists will launch the project on Friday, March 1, from 6 to 8pm, with a party for the public in Dia's bookshop at 548 West 22nd Street, New York City.
For Tap, a project commissioned by Dia Center for the Arts, presented in cooperation with Creative Time, and selected for the Whitney Museum of American Art's 2002 Biennial, Buckhouse has created two animated dancers, one male and one female, that the user may direct to practice movements or give recitals. Tap is made for distribution on wireless handheld networks and is accessible via Dia's website, as well as from beaming stations that interface with all Palm Powered™ personal digital assistants (PDAs). By taking advantage of beaming technology, which enables wireless transmission of data, Buckhouse encourages the project to expand beyond the internet and individual computer desktops: Users may pass dancers to other users and exchange choreography with those who already have a dancer.
When instructed to "practice," a Tap dancer begins to learn a series of sixteen basic moves, inevitably making mistakes but gradually expanding the number of steps it has mastered. A dancer may then combine the steps into a dance, either through randomized improvisation or with a sequence of moves specified by the user. Once codified, the dances may be saved for future performances.
While digital media traditionally allows users to exchange exact copies of data, Tap, with its potential for the transfer of unique choreography, emphasizes difference rather than repetition, treating digital data not as defined packets of information but as the seeds for a creative process. By enabling interchange between and among users, the project creates a network of communication.
Buckhouse's collaborator, Holly Brubach, organized the dance elements of the project. She recruited ballet dancer and choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, resident choreographer of the New York City Ballet, to participate in the project, and taught Wheeldon to Tap dance. Videos of Brubach and Wheeldon were used by Buckhouse as templates for the female and male animated line drawings.
From March 1 through July 27, 2002, users may download the project onto their PDAs from a beaming station at Dia. During this same period, Creative Time will present additional beaming stations at the Barnes & Noble at Union Square and two additional locations in New York City. Tap, which was selected for the Whitney's 2002 Biennial, will also be available via a beaming station in the Whitney's lobby during the course of the Biennial, from March 7 through May 26, 2002.
James Buckhouse, born in 1972, currently lives and works in San Francisco. He has exhibited in museums, galleries, and festivals in the United States and Europe and recently completed a year as a visiting artist at the Stanford University Digital Art Center, where he created and co-curated an exhibition on artist-produced screen savers as a form of public art. Buckhouse has also created computer-based animation for major-release films. Artist and programmer Scott Snibbe assisted Buckhouse with the programming for the project.
Journalist and fashion designer Holly Brubach began her career as a dancer. The author of three books, she has also been on the editorial staff at Vogue, Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, and most recently The New York Times, where she served as style editor for almost five years. Former director of Prada's home and sport collections, Brubach recently started her own business. She lives and works in New York and Milan, where she continues to teach Tap.
Artists' Projects for the Web
Dia Center for the Arts initiated a series of web-based works in early 1995, becoming one of the first arts organizations to foster the use of the world wide web as an artistic and conceptual medium. Previous projects, which can be visited on Dia's website, include Shimabuku's Moon Rabbit (2001), Feng Mengbo's Phantom Tales (2001), David Claerbout's Present (2000), Stephen Vitiello's Tetrasomia (2000), Arturo Herrera's Almost Home (1998), Diller + Scofidio's Refresh (1998), Molissa Fenley's Latitudes (1996), and Komar and Melamid's The Most Wanted Paintings (1995). All may be viewed at www.diacenter.org.
Founded in 1974, Dia Art Foundation plays a vital and original role among visual arts institutions nationally and internationally by initiating, supporting, presenting, and preserving art projects in nearly every medium, and by serving as a primary locus for interdisciplinary art and criticism.
Dia presents a program of exhibitions at Dia Center for the Arts in Chelsea, New York City. Supplementary programming at Dia Center for the Arts includes the artists' projects for the web, lectures, poetry readings, film and video screenings, performances, scholarly research and publications, symposia, and an arts education program that serves area students. Dia is currently constructing a new museum in Beacon, New York, sixty miles north of New York City, to house its permanent collection. The museum in Beacon will open in spring 2003.
Creative Time is a nonprofit arts organization with a thirty-year history of presenting public arts projects of all disciplines, through both grassroots activism and highly prominent venues. From the Brooklyn Bridge Anchorage, Grand Central Terminal and Times Square to milk cartons, billboards, and skywriting over New York City, Creative Time has a distinguished history of commissioning and presenting art that enhances the public realm, inspires and provokes discussion of socially relevant topics such as domestic violence, HIV/AIDS pandemic, genetic engineering, and now, the proliferation of wireless technologies in the arts and society at large. For more information about Creative Time, please visit www.creativetime.org.
Tap was commissioned by Dia Center for the Arts. Its presentation is being made in cooperation with Creative Time. Technology is provided by Palm, Inc., with additional support from hi beam. Dia's series of artists' projects for the web receives funding from the New York State Council on the Arts.
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Press Department, Dia Art Foundation, firstname.lastname@example.org or 212 293 5518