Ghosts in the Machine

picture of ghosts in the machine.

Ghosts in the Machine is a 3D film installation by Billy Cowie commissioned by Lighthouse, Brighton. Billy Cowie’s new 3-D dance installation, Ghosts in the Machine, is shown for the first time in the Lighthouse Gallery during May 09. It combines highly specialised techniques of stereoscopic filmmaking with inventive dance choreography to create an immersive and unique 3-D experience.
As you stand in front of a white wall, wearing blue and red 3-D glasses, three cheeky young women emerge, solid as life, coming at you.
Jennifer Potter, Rachel Blackman and Victoria Melody dance, sing and joke their way through the twenty-five minute piece. Their topics of discussion range from existentialism to ballpark sex to media studies (though none of them is quite sure which cowboy film Marshall McLuhan was actually in). Hanging over them is the dread knowledge that at the end of the performance they have to do ‘the whole friggin thing all over again’ but somehow it turns out to be more fun than they thought.The music is three songs from the Eatingest CD by Billy Cowie and Jennifer Potter `(Love is Like a Car, Ariel and Caliban, Swing Low Sweet Cheerioh) and Schubert's Litanei sung by Lucie and Cathryn Robson.

premiere at Lighthouse May 2009


 

REVIEWS

GHOSTS IN THE MACHINE
TRAVERSE, EDINBURGH
MARY BRENNAN

They look so real these three young women and they are real, or were when Billy Cowie asked them to be his Ghosts in the Machine. Cowie has yet again conjured up a 3D illusion that sends commonsense perceptions into a tailspin as soon as the red/blue spectacles are put on. It’s afterwards the mind begins to turn somersaults, looping notions of reality and virtual existence between thoughts about the nature of voyeurism, cinema and the life ongoing that is encapsulated in Cowie’s cunningly contrived footage.
Previous pieces, like In the Flesh, have been tinged with erotic mysticism but here it’s the down-to-earth quality of what these women (Jennifer Potter, Rachel Blackman and Victoria Melody) say and do that is so persuasive and so enticingly naughty.
Cowie deploys the 3D trickery with consummate skill, but what amazes most is the lingering sense of him having played tricks on time and space, with us peeping at a past that is thrusting itself into our present.

Glasgow Herald 26 Nov 2009




GHOSTS IN THE MACHINE
TRAVERSE, EDINBURGH
JOYCE McMILLAN

Billy Cowie's witty 25-minute 3-D film-installation Ghosts in the Machine is a short but cheeky exploration of the border country between live theatre and film. On a small set featuring three doors with white bead curtains, the separately filmed images of three actresses appear, one in each doorway. To the audience, wearing 3D specs, they look astonishingly like live actors, moving towards us, talking, interacting, reaching out with preternaturally long arms. The look of the show is immensely stylish, all effortless neo-Sixties chic, and the ease with which it mimics live performance is usefully disturbing, to anyone who cares about the future of theatre.

The Scotsman 26 Nov 2009


Technical set up

The piece can be presented either A in an installation/gallery type context with the piece running on a continuous loop and the audience entering and leaving as they wish or B in a theatrical context with a seated audience who view a single 25 minute screening of the work. In both cases the audience wears blue/red glasses which we bring.

Installation version requires;
HD Media Player (which we provide) with HDMI output and stereo rca phono jack sound output
Video projector (high definition 1920x1080 native) venue provides HDMI input.
Stereo sound system venue provides
A room with smooth white wall (4.5 metres by 2.5 metres for life size – can be smaller) or white screen with no light coming in.

Theatrical Version requires
HD Media Player (which we provide) with HDMI output and stereo rca phono jack sound output
Video projector (high definition 1920x1080 native) venue provides with DVI or VGA input.
Stereo sound system venue provides
A theatre with smooth white projection screen (4.5 metres by 2.5 metres for life size – can be smaller)