Webbed Feats explained in an interview with Mika Brzezinski and WATCH newly discovered video of the Sept. 17th performance BELOW (scroll down)

Webbed Feats presents 
BYTES of Bryant Park

(1997)

Produced and presented by Stephan Koplowitz & Company (Kop Art, Inc.) in association with the Bryant Park Restoration Corporation

Web site online  June, July, August, September, 1997- Click on the original gif to access the archived original website:

Date of performance in Bryant Park: September 17, 1997

Executive Producer and Artistic Director of Webbed Feats: Stephan Koplowitz

for Bryant Park Restoration Corporation: Executive Director, Daniel A. Biederman, Director of Public Events,

Donna Lieberman, Associate Director of Public Events,

Andrew Beard and Jody Boese, Park Supervisor

Event Production Manager: Kathy Kaufmann

Sound production and co-ordination by See Factor Industry Inc.

Live On-line:  Adam Cohen and Dan Rayburn

Video, Directed and Produced:  Invision, Cynthia Urbaez and Michael Jones

Stage Managers:  Lee S. Miller, Erykah Zebe, Caroline Copeland, Katie Gibbon, Claire Murphy

Event Guides: Mira Bowin, Jesse Nisselson, Thomas Stokes, Dionne Walker, Veronica Cabrera, Caryn Repaci, Jennifer Byrd and Catherine Despont.

Web site produced by Planet Theory Inc., James Graham producer,  designed by Rob Roth, written by Paul Malmont, produced by Dino Citraro and managed by Rachael MacLean

Site hosted by el Net

Cybercasting by Live Online and Thinking Pictures

Webbed Feats Radio Network, produced and hosted by Naomi Lewin, assisted by Miriam Lewin

Press Representatives for Webbed Feats: Connors Communications

Webbed Feats presents: Bytes of Bryant Park is made possible with the generous support of the following organizations: Dancing in the Streets' OnSITE/NYC Commission Fund, The Greenwall Foundation, The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, The Estate of Dorothy Perlow, and individual contributions to KopArt, Inc.

 

Webbed Feats is part of The Bryant Park Restoration Corporation's  New Work New York series and has received generous support from Target Stores, The Multi-Arts Production Fund of the Rockefeller Foundation, The Ford Foundation, and The J.M. Kaplan Fund.

The Webbed Feats project was the first crowd-sourced dance/theater production on the web that resulted in a seven-hour performance event in Bryant Park, NYC. It was seen by over 3,000 people in Bryant Park, with an online audience of close to a 1,000 (remember, this was 1997).

The production is also notable for being one of the first live-on-site broadcast radio programs on the web.

Webbed Feats presents Bytes of Bryant Park. with Artistic Director Stephan Koplowitz and the Webbed Feats creative team transformed hundreds of selected online submissions into a seven-hour performance extravaganza comprised of two dances, a play, performance art, and improvisational comedy. The combined cast of artists was over 50  in addition to 30 technicians/stagehands who were on hand with digital and live production needs.  While online participants who attended the performance could at times recognize their contributions within the full work, the project was a mediation between online contributions and commissioned artists who curated the submissions that interested them and then created an artwork that was a balance between their own creativity and the online submissions. 

 

Webbed Feats took over two years of fundraising and had its inspiration (beginning in 1995) when the World Wide Web was referred to as the “information highway” and locations on the web were called “sites”. The language of architecture was being appropriated for this new platform and it immediately inspired me to think about how to stage a site-specific event within this new “space”. I was primarily interested in creating an event that bridged the digital world and the real world. 

My memory of the summer of 1997 is that I spent almost every waking hour online trying to get other people to visit www. webbedfeats.org which unfortunately did not have the luxury of a marketing budget. I was lucky to have Connie Connors, CEO of Connors Communications (which was one of NYC’s best media PR firms) helping me to get local and national press interested in the project.

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Press Quotes:

 

“The event had the random adventurousness of the best street art, demanding nothing from the passer-by but offering opportunities for contemplation. But at the heart of ‘Webbed Feats’ was a small gem of a dance ... that confirmed Mr. Koplowitz’s extraordinary sensitivity to environment.”

 

“‘On Lawn’ was for those moments an intrinsic part of Bryant Park. And it was hard to imagine seeing that lawn again without some memory of red.”

                                    --Jennifer Dunning, NYT 9/19/97

 

“Koplowitz launched the first phase of an ambitious new project that invites cybersurfers to collaborate on a multimedia dance project that will take place in September both in Bryant Park in midtown and on the web.... It will be one of the most ambitious online art undertakings in New York in some time. Maybe Silicon Alley hasn’t lost its creative juice after all, huh?”            

                                     --The New York Internet Newsletter, 6/20/97

 

“Koplowitz has more than 10 years’ experience producing massive environmentally-dependent dance pieces....For Koplowitz’s purposes, the Net is merely an extension of public space, another kind of edifice in which to work.”

                                    --Mike Tanner, Wired News, 8/5/97

 

“‘Interactive,’ the Holy Grail of new media, takes one step closer to useful reality with a project called Bytes of Bryant Park. Stephan Koplowitz, the artistic director and executive producer of the project, has never been one to think small.”

                                    --Gary Parks, CultureFinder, 8/8/97

 

“The choreographer and teacher Stephan Koplowitz has a passion for making large-scale pieces in unlikely places....Unlike Mr. Koplowitz’s earlier work, ‘Bytes of Bryant Park’ was constructed in part from suggestions he received on his world wide web page, Webbed Feats...More than 50,000 people have visited his Web site; some 180 have contributed ideas.”

                                    --William Harris, NYT, 9/14/97

 

“This week a remarkable thing happened in Bryant Park. Choreographer Stephan Koplowitz presented a multimedia, collaborative work centered around dance but including original music, visual arts, poetry and prose...The process of creation was not only remarkably democratic but Net-specific in the best way...User interaction is something the Net excels at fostering; and it’s something that was integral to the process of creating Webbed Feats....Webbed Feats is a work of true Net-based collaboration.”

                                    --Jason Chervokas, siliconalleynews, 9/19/97

 

“En baskets et tee-shirts, une vingtaine de danseuses font la rue. pour une fois, elles ne repetent pas dans une salle aux murs couverts de miroirs, mais a Bryant Park, une pelouse bordee d’arbres en plein cour de Manhattan. L’emplacement, un jardin public du XIXe siecle, est cependant moins exceptionnel que la danse qu’elles executeront: Webbed Feats... Car cette oeuvre a ete composee par le choregraphe americain Stephan Koplowitz grace a... l’internaute lambda.”

                                    --Michel Arseneault, Le Monde, 9/28-9/97

Webbed Feats Performances and Creators

On Lawn 

(The center lawn and Park benches of Bryant Park)

Directed and choreographed by Stephan Koplowitz with material submitted by online participants (see below) and creative contributions from the cast.

Original Score by Quentin Chiappetta and Brooks Williams

Dancers: Alexis Baden-Mayer, Kyla Barkin, Caron Bosler, Ann Celery, Tracy, Dickson, Mary Beth Gillam, Jennifer Haas, Susannah Keagle, Heather Kenneally, Jessie Lyons, Nam Holtz, Diane Moss, Tessa Nebrida, Jennifer Noda, Heather Rubrecht, Dorie Taylor, Jennifer Tietz, Denise Volpicelli, Vanessa Wharton, Stephanie Wilkins, Katie Workum, Wen-Shuan Yang

 

Program note: The movement vocabulary of this dance was taken from phrases and words suggested through the website. On­ line participants selected five photographs out of a series of 15 and also wrote in word phrases to accompany their selections.

Sections of this dance reflect those choices as interpreted by the cast (watch the above interview with Mika Brzezinksi for a demonstration).

Promenade Installation

(the gravel pathways surrounding the Bryant Park lawn)

Conceived and Directed by Stephan Koplowitz with material submitted by online participants.   

Original Score by Quentin Chiappetta.

Dancers: Alexis Baden-Mayer, Kyla Barkin, Caron Bosler, Ann Celery, Tracy, Dickson, Mary Beth Gillam, Jennifer Haas, Susannah Keagle, Heather Kenneally, Jessie Lyons, Nam Holtz, Diane Moss, Tessa Nebrida, Jennifer Noda, Heather Rubrecht, Dorie Taylor, Jennifer Tietz, Denise Volpicelli, Vanessa Wharton, Stephanie Wilkins, Katie Workum, Wen-Shuan Yang

Program note: The movement vocabulary of this dance was taken from phrases and words suggested through the Webbed Feast website. On­line participants selected five photographs out of a series of 15 and also wrote in word phrases to accompany their selections. The twenty-two dancers, divided into two groups of eleven were placed on both sides of the Bryant Park promenade pathways. Each dancer listened to a cassette walkman with a ten-minute score made up of words and the phrases that had been submitted to the Webbed Feats website. Movement choices were made in real-time was dancers listened to each word or instruction.

Webbed Feats Performances and Creators

 

Scared Scriptless

(at the East Terrace of Bryant Park)

Improv Comedy

Directed by James Greenberg

Performers: Andres du Souchet, James Greenberg, Michelle Mary, Tim Ostrander

Scared Scriptless created a  series of comedy improv scenes from submitted suggestions from the Webbed Feats online audience and live audience in the park.

The Moving Poets

(at the East Terrace of Bryan Park)

 

Directed by Galinsky

Performed by Flynn Buffalowood,  Mayanna Lee Barnard, Galinsky, and sound designer/composer TB0

Poetry submitted_to webbedfeats.org by: Jody Plant, Bob Holman, Susannah Keagle, Suzanne France, Mary-Anne Reed, Cole K., Chns Fisher, Mayanna Lee Barnard, Mat Jacobs, and Galinsky.

Inspired by the bust of Gertrude Stein found in front of the Bryant Park Cafe, The Moving Poets created a  reading of original poetry and creative writing submitted by the online Webbed Feats audience. Participants were presented with a series of photographs of Bryan Park and asked to write a response to them.  Galinsky, the director of the poetry ensemble, asked composer/performer TBO to create an original score to accompany the readings.

Soapbox Speeches

(New York minutes)

(at the Dodge Statue, North Side of Bryant Park)

Directed by Claire Porter

Performed by Claire Porter and Kim Bendheim

Text by Claire Porter, Kim Bendheim, and the following online contributing authors: Arthur Paul Amir Longi, Lydia, Patrick Di Justo, April, Rick Grant, Chris G., Nan, Sada, Nancy Puckett-Dunn, and Michelle Isabelle.

This performance took place in front of the Dodge statue: William Earl Dodge (1805 - 1883) was the archetypal opinionated New Yorker; a person who spoke up for what he believed in. As an activist, he campaigned vigorously for abolition. A civic leader, he was one of the founders of the YMCA.

 

Online audience members were given this prompt: We will be presenting a collection of one-minute-long performances on the day of the event. Contribute your New York Minute in the form of a soap box editorial that can be delivered or performed in 60 seconds or less. This is your opportunity to tell the world what's on your mind.

10 minute excerpt of The Moving Poets
12 minute excerpt of Scared Scriptless
4 minute excerpt of Promendade Installation 
7 minute excerpt of On Lawn 
The Moving Poets at Bryant Park
The Moving Poets at Bryant Park

as part of BYTES of Bryant Park

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Moving Poets photo by Tom Brazil
Scared Scriptless
Scared Scriptless

Scared Scriptless at BYTES of Bryant Park

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Faust On-line and Goethe's Faust

(at the Goethe Statue, South Side of  Bryant Park)

 

Directed by Christopher Sanderson

Performers: Chris Barron (Faust), Chris Berg, Josh Fox, Veronika Korvin, Matt Daniels, Alison McGonigal Tim Moore, Wesley Stahler, Connie Tarbox

Goethe's Faust by Goethe is adapted and translated by Kirk Wood Bromley

On-line Faust was written by Sarah Mountjoy, Kim Bendheim, Zachary P. Hudak, Leah Ryan and Alison  McGonigal

Associate Producer Diane Magnuson;

Stage Manager Claire Murphy

Inspired by the bust of Goethe found on the south side of Bryant Park, director Christopher Sanderson with playwright Kirk Wood Bromley and some online contributions, produced an adaptation of Goethe's Faust. 

9 minute Excerpt of Soap Box Speeches
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Soapbox Speeches
Soapbox Speeches

Claire Porter & Kim Bendheim

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Soapbox photos-by Tom Brazil

Scared Scriptless photos-by Tom Brazil

On Lawn
On Lawn

Site dance at part of BYTES of Bryant Park

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Promenade Installation
Promenade Installation

This technology improvisational dance was performed as part of BYTES of Bryant Park

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Promenade Installation photos-by Tom Brazil

On Lawn photos by Tom Brazil

Black and White Rehearsal photos of On Lawn by T. Brittain Stone
12 minute excerpt of Faust- 
Goethe's Faust at Bryant Park
Goethe's Faust at Bryant Park

part of BYTES of Bryant Park

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Faust photos-by Tom Brazil