This week, I'm at Banff Centre in Canada for an Isadora workshop. Until I boarded the airport shuttle from Calgary and started heading into the winding roads through the mountains, I didn't register the fact that the campus is sitting right inside the Canadian Rockies. The surrounding views are stunning, especially with the touch of first snow just the other day.
Amidst the nature, I'm actually deep inside tech jungle. Isadora is a software that allows interactive media integration in live performances. The workshop is taught by the creator of the software itself, Mark Cognilio. He's actually a great instructor. I've seen few software teachers as effective. He's also just a cool guy to hang with, with lots of great stories for us each night over drinks. The workshop is a good balance of learning the technical stuff and finding ways to apply it. Most participants come from performance background (including the instructors Mark & Dawn), so I'm encountering a lot of totally different perspectives and approaches to working with video. I'm also facing a huge learning curve with the software. Having been an editor a long time I'm so used to the concept of timeline. But this doesn't work like that at all. It's all nodes and connecting actors and numbers... Totally different workflow. Sometimes frustratingly inefficient, in my mind. It's probably not the tool I want for the installation work I'm doing lately, but I can see lots of other possibilities opening up with it, especially if it's interactive or generative. The live part being there seems essential with this tool.
Banff Centre is a really awesome, very active art community. I love that it's remote from a large city, and yet there's so much happening here all the time, with all sorts of participants and attendees. In three days, I've already met a number of resident artists, from musicians to ceramists to Indigenous artists.
What makes it way more awesome is instances like this evening... I decided to take a stroll through campus before the short daylight fully disappears. I was right in the middle of a bunch of buildings when I heard something, turned, and there it was, this magnificent elk. It was just hanging out amongst trees, having dinner, not minding the occasional pedestrians and many human presence around it. I was so fascinated I hung around this creature probably a little too close for a little too long. People passing me warned that they're fast, and it's wise to keep a tree between it and myself.
I have a few more days, but I feel like I will be back here again some day...