Media Lab Helsinki

Dance on Demand / Myths for the Day


Aki Suzuki as Buddha. Image by Egon Randlepp and Juhani Tenhunen.

The audiovisual material created for “Myths for One” (2001) will be readjusted and developed into a multiple media program service “Myth for the Day / Dance on Demand,” through which user communities can order mythological aphorisms to be sent to each other via PDAs and Internet, while the messages also construct dances (on-demand) of various lengths to digital television. The aphorisms are spoken in the TV-program by two characters and their subtitles are withdrawn from the same database than the mobile phone sent aphorisms to experiment with flexible content units in multiple media. The Buddha video character may also be danced with through a gesture recognising system in physical space to foresee the future of interactive characters on city-spaces, for example, as billboards or guides.

Dance on Demand features a new content format and genre for interactive television and mobile devices, also introducing interactive video characters for domestic and public spaces as entertainers and guides.


Myths for One connoisseur:

Start with a 6 hours interview session with the mythologist Joseph Campbell and a 12 hours seminar discussion about the significance of myths in today’s world. Sort out the videotaped conversations and write them into 316 statements and questions. Recognize the points of view in the preceding material and adapt them into lines for two characters. Record the lines and let a computer present them continuously in sessions of about 2-5 minutes. Add ten musical interludes in between the spoken sessions. Both the sentences and the music are presented in random order and emanate from an iron box. Construct a tent of felt around the box and project the real-time computer edited video of a dancing Buddha on a vertical surface in the tent. Decide the first and last video clip out of 26 and let the others continuously arrange them in between so that during a dialogue session the likelihood of close-ups is 80%, while during music only 20%. The opening and closing of the iron box define the length of each viewing session and always create a new audiovisual work out of the same database material. The number of possible works created is, as they say, infinite. Thus constructed experimental research production demonstrates the possibilities of algorithmically directed databases, associative and metaphorical script writing and the chance, for example, for creating more complex computer-generated characters and for making the generally mechanical behaviour of computers more invisible and unexpected. Apply particularly into computer games.


Myths for the Day / Dance on Demand (2003)

based on the original production Shift (2001)

Helsinki University of Art and Design &

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland

research production

produced by Crucible Studio

Shot in the Media Centre Lume TV studio

Sound recorded and edited in the Sibelius Academy Centre for Music and Technology

Presented in the OtaDigi network

Aki Suzuki – Dancing Buddha, Woman’s head, Man’s head

Hanna Harris – Woman’s voice

Mika Tuomola – Man’s voice

script by Ville Eerikäinen, Hanna Harris & Kari Kanto

script-edit by Hanna Harris & Mika Tuomola

video-edit by Sami Haartemo & Minna Nurminen

sound-edit and music by Niina Saarelainen

computer programming by Markus Norrena & Ville Ollikainen

choreography by Aki Suzuki

cinematography by Sari Aaltonen

lights by Arttu Peltomaa

Aki Suzuki’s style by Mika Tarvainen

produced by Juhani Tenhunen

conceived and directed by Mika Tuomola

inspired by

Joseph Campbell and Abu’l-Ala-Al-Ma’arri, Samuel Beckett, Björk, The Beatles (George Harrison), Buddha, William Blake, Guiraut de Borneilh, Jesus Christ, René Descartes, The Doors, Ecclesiastes, Albert Einstein, T.S.Eliot, Walter Kaufmann, Petri Kola, Stanislaw Jerszy Lec, Lucretius, Karl Marx, The Moody Blues, Friedrich Nietzsche, Sami Pekkola, Plato, Riikka Puustinen, The Ramones, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Bertrand Russell, Carl Sagan, William Shakespeare, George Bernard Shaw, Maureen Thomas, Mark Twain, Vala

thanks to

Paavo Ahvo/Stoa, Mångad Oy, Trevor Harris, Pekka Salonen