Best Multimedia Artificial-Intelligence Arts Group (2009)

OpenEnded Group

"A.I." usually conjures images of evil, world-dominating machines, but not for a trio of multimedia artists. In the mid-'90s, Paul Kaiser and Shelley Eshkar worked together on computer-animation pieces and were later joined by Marc Downie in 2001 to form the OpenEnded Group. That year, they collaborated with the late choreographer Merce Cunningham for Loops: Cunningham's moving hands were fitted with markers (tiny balls) that triggered motion-capture cameras which transformed the marker reflections into graphics. Similarly, 2005's how long does the subject linger on the edge of the volume . . . was another motion-capture project, this time as an interactive piece with the Trisha Brown Dance Company. Dancers performed behind a transparent screen that projected images which were generated by machines analyzing and visually interpreting the dancers' movements in real-time. For 2006's Enlightenment, several screens at Lincoln Center displayed graphics continuously created on the spot by several computers analyzing a Mozart score and films of musicians performing it. Definitely not malevolent, but potent enough to attract the attention of MIT in their work.