Robert Wechsler

 

I live in Weimar, Germany.  I am busy with :

directing a project to make a dance/music device for people with disabilities at Bauhaus University

working as a motion tracking consultant for musicians and dancers around the world

choreographing and dancing for Palindrome Inter.media Performance Group

I teach dance (auf deutsch).

 

Biography

I grew up in a family of scientists in Tennessee and Iowa.  When I was 17, I built an electronic device out of spare parts that made sounds according to how I moved.  In that same year I started taking modern dance classes at my high school.  Combining my interests, I made my first interactive dance (in 1974) and this became something of a theme in my life.

I spent a few years studying biochemistry and molecular genetics, but being the proverbial black sheep of the family, the call of the arts was too great to resist.  When I was 19, I moved to New York City to focus on dance and choreography -- the artistic mileu of New York in the 80's was without equal (at least in my life)!  We felt like rock stars taking classes from Merce Cunningham with John Cage looking on!

Along the way I earned a BFA in dance and an MFA in choreography from State University of New York at Purchase and New York University respectively.  I spent almost ten-years at the Cunningham studio and influenced heavily by him and John Cage.  I won a Fulbright Fellowship in '82 and soon after that, with friends, formed the Palindrome Dance Company.

We toured Norway, England, Germany, Austria and France and that taught me that there was a world beyond America. Well, duh. I mean this culturally of course, but also in the sense of how people relate to one another and feel about their role in society.

Without speaking a word of German, danke, I moved to Germany in 1985; first to Cologne and then to Nürnberg which supported Palindrome from 1990 to 2004. The US, for all its creativity and resources, does a pretty pathetic job of supporting its artists.

In 1995 I crossed paths with a computer engineer named Frieder Weiss, and, for ten years, we developed computer-based systems for interactive dance performance (including the EyeCon motion tracking software).  Our work together, pioneering in its day, won a number of awards and we got gigs in festivals around the world.

From 2004 to 2006 I directed England's first masters degree program in digital performance at Doncaster College (Hull University).  While I liked teaching, I found the total experience exceptionally boring. I did, however, do one thing that I am very proud of:  With the help of artist Diana Wilschut and composer Erling Wold, I wrote and directed an opera about a young woman I knew about who had murdered someone in a crime of passion.  "Blinde Liebe", an opera about obsession, was performed to critical acclaim in San Francisco and Nürnberg.

I would like to say that the next three years were spent practicing Zen meditation in the mountains of Japan, but while the first part may have been true, the location was deep in the Schwäbisch countryside.  Schwaben, if you didn't know, is in Germany.

In any case, this period ended when, on a whim, I moved to Weimar.  Soon after, on another whim, I applied for and won a 100,000 euro grant to develop a device for people with disabilities to turn movement into music. 

This project has grown; we just won a 1/2 million euro grant from the EU to develop this work.

I write occasionally and have been published in Leonardo Magazine, IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, Ballet International, Dance Magazine, Dance Research Journal, Contact Quarterly, Der Tanz der Dinge and others.

I like to choreograph, rock climb,

dance, sew clothes for myself.

Im learning French.

Feel free to drop me a line.

 

I'm getting older... shit how did that happen?

 

CV

Contact info

 

 

Deutsch:

 

Er ist Erfinder von MotionComposer, Choreograf und Tänzer und war einer der Vordenker Interaktiver Technologien. Er ist Gründer der Palindrome Dance Company, hat einen Master in Choreographie von der New York University und war Schützling von Merce Cunningham und John Cage.   Sein choreographischen Oeuvre (1975-2015) beinhaltet über 100 Tanzstücke.

Robert war Fulbright Stipendiat und u.a. gewann 2002 mit seiner Tanzkompanie den ersten Preis für ‘Beste Interaktive Kunst’ an der Berliner Transmediale. Er ist Autor zahlreiche Artikel im Bereich Tanz und Technologie und Co-Autor des Buches “Assistive Technologies, Disability Informatics and Computer Access for Motor Limitations” und lebt derzeit in Weimar, von wo er die MotionComposer Projekte leitet.