This webpage is a portfolio page hidden on my website - for further information about my work see: freyaolafson.com
'MÆ - Motion Aftereffect' addresses the impact of emerging technologies associated with AR - Augmented Reality, VR - Virtual Reality, MR - Mixed Reality, XR - Extended Reality and 360° video available to consumers. ‘MÆ‘ is a digital collage of content from the Internet: open source motion capture libraries, ready-made 3D human models and monologues of individuals recounting their experiences with VR in live gameplay, explorative worlds, VR porn. In the closing scene / duet (excerpt 1), the webcamera feed from above is manipulated through a game development software called ‘Unity’ to create an effect that freezes video frames and continuously prints new moving frames atop the previous, thereby creating live painting trails from our movement onstage. This visual effect is a reference to the early 2000s visual aesthetic of Brody Condon’s video game work ‘Adam Killer’ (1999) and a common Windows XP (2001 – 2008) system error that would generate the same painting effect using your computer’s search windows and cursors as paintbrush. The formal composition of 'MÆ' closing scene / duet references the primary colored shapes that became a signature of the Bauhaus Movement in Germany as well as the work of Bauhaus associated artist Oskar Schlemmer, who augmented and extended the human form through sculptural costumes and formal choreographic explorations of ‘space’ and ‘time’. Within 'MÆ - Motion Aftereffect' there are text references to the Fluxus movement - ‘Lettuce Manifesto’ (created by Al Hansen in 1970), the Bauhaus School (László Moholy-Nagy's idea of the ‘Theater of Totality’ as well as Oskar Schlemmer as noted above) as well as Manifest.AR collective’s 2011 Manifesto for Augmented Reality as interventionist art; all distinct artist movements / collectives that proposed visionary ideas and manifestos for transformation and consideration of art and the public. 'MÆ-Motion Aftereffect' concludes with an overlay of the Windows XP 2000s ‘Solitaire’ computer game ending which visualizes each stack of cards falling to the bottom of the screen - creating the same digital painting trails before sliding off screen. more info
MÆ - Motion Aftereffect
60mins - Nov 2019
Performance, Unity & Video: Freya Björg Olafson
Co-presence: Lise McMillan
Sound: Emma Hendrix
Excerpt #1 - Live Painting:
view from 57mins to 1h03m3s (total 6mins30s)
Excerpt #2 - VR scene
view from 50mins to 53ms (3mins)
Technical description excerpt #1: a live web camera feed from above the stage is run into 'Unity'. In 'Unity' I applied C# code to generate green-screen transparency (this code has a glitch that generates the painting trails rather than the usual greenscreen transparency). In Unity I applied motion captured data to an avatar as well as a particle system to the avatar's hand. The composited footage from 'Unity', is sent through 'Syphon' into 'Isadora' - from 'Isadora' I send the footage out to two computer monitors at the front of the stage for the performers to reference as well as to the projection surface at the back of the stage - this scene is a four monitor / screen set up.
Note: In April 2020 I will do a video shoot of excerpt #1 (the painting scene of 'MAE') as a single channel video. This video will screen in galleries and at media art / experimental cinema festivals without the live performance component.
'ISEA - International Symposium on Electronic Art'
as part of 'Sensorium' York University
venue at UQAM in Montréal
Prairie Theatre Exchange 'Leap Series'
October 30th - November 3rd, 2019
‘Painting with the Man’ was developed through the use of a camera-less motion capture suit worn by Freya Olafson. The work references Yves Klien’s Anthropométries 1960 series; wherein Klein engaged nude women as 'human paint brushes'. Dressed in bow-tie and suit Klein would conduct the women as they covered themselves (in his patented color ‘International Klein Blue’) and made imprints of their bodies on canvas. In ‘Painting with the Man’ Olafson uses a digital readymade generic male 3D body to imprint the canvas / screen. This work has screened in thirteen cities internationally since 2017. more info
PAinting With the Man
part of the MAE- Motion Aftereffect series
Video | Motion Capture | Performance:
Freya Björg Olafson
Music: "It Girl" Mister Wallace
HD video | 3m37s
SUGGESTED VIEWING from 0mins to 2mins
Installation or screening
Technical Description: In this work I applied motion capture data recorded from my movement using the 'Perception Neuron' suit and used their related software. I applied the mocap data in the 'Unity' game development software to a readymade free 3D avatar. A glitch happened when I would play the game / mocap data back and a trail painting effect occurred. Anytime I moved the VR headset the trail painting happened. I set up to record my computer screen in order to create this video work. The avatars occasionally spin on the spot which highlights the 3D dimensionality of the models. The spins happens when I activated a C# code for rotation.
'Brief Encounters & Sustained Engagement' is part of Freya’s AVATAR series (2009-2011) exploring methods of creating, validating and disseminating one’s identity through the use of technology and the Internet. The series is inspired by the mantra “I post therefore I am”, whereby Internet users legitimize their existence by documenting their lives and uploading this media to personal webpages and blogs. The work in this series facilitates an inquiry into our desire to share and publicize our lives.
“Using a palette of gestures gleaned from online fetish videos, media artist/dancer Freya Olafson addresses the dual nature of sexual performance — both alluring and repellent. The seductive quality of Olafson’s stroking, gyrating and posing is undone by her use of a distorting fish-eye lens of her web cam. A necessary supplement to her performance are the live reactions of a Chat Roulette audience, which doesn’t seem to understand that her performance mimics not genuine seduction but the dried-out ritual that unfolds in strip clubs and the like on a nightly basis.”
Sandee Moore (Uptown Magazine)
This work is an extension of my video work: A/S/L (age/sex/location)
Brief Encounters &
Audio, video, performance: Freya Björg Olafson
Gallery Installation: 16mins Played on a laptop placed on a plinth, under a plexiglass box
SUGGESTED VIEWING from 0mins to 2m55s
Format available: Digital file - DVD (NTSC or PAL)
Technical Description: Through the manycam app I was able to override the Chatroulette platform and run a pre-recoded video to interact with viewers on the website. This video is a document of my engagements as I researched Chatroulette. Each time the video says -disconnected - it is the viewer who chose to exit viewing my video. In 2010 I performed this work live on Chatroulette at Platform Center for Photographic & Digital Arts with a live audience present. Curator J.J. Kegan McFadden oversaw the online interactions by operating the keyboard and mouse ie: skipping viewers as I performed as part of the exhibition 'Ritualiz’d '
Text provided by Will Pappenheimer:
Angsty Pool liquefies Michael Rees’ large abstract black and white crosshatched wall image into a rippling pool. Moving throughout the shallow water are five duplicate male base game characters in underwear, who perform motions of cleansing, lounging and occasionally looking out at the audience. Their movements are guided by a process of motion capture previously enacted physically by my collaborator, Freya Björg Olafson. As suggested by the title, the turbulence across the underlying image as well as the churning motions of the characters evoke conditions of anxiety even in the midst of the relaxing act of swimming. These conditions are meant to relate to troubling issues of identity circulating through contemporary culture, at the same time as the the desire to wash them away.
Collaboration with Will Pappenheimer
in response to Michael Rees’
Exhibited at Grounds for Sculpture,
Augmented Reality project
SUGGESTED VIEWING - Angsty Pool 0mins to 2m57s
Below: 'Pool Scratch' Will Pappenheimer and Freya Björg Olafson, screenshot video of augmented reality, unofficial installation at the Guggenheim Museum, 2018, featured through the mobile exhibition app: ACTIVATAR
AVATAR Premiere in 2009 - toured until 2015
Performance / Audio / Video / Quartz Composer:
Freya Björg Olafson
WATCH full length of video on the left
Note: Video to the left is 3minutes of excerpts from the 60 minute performance which has taken place in both
blackbox theatres and gallery spaces. In 2021 AVATAR
will be published as a score / script as part of an anthology on digital theatre in Canada by Canadian Playwrights Press.
CVS [Computer Vision Syndrome]
Video below: This video below is a part of the live performance, it has also screened at various cinema festivals, as well as been installed in galleries - usually running in a loop on a laptop.
additional / extra - VIEWING - 3mins to end
CVS (Computer Vision Syndrome) layers composited screen captures of rapid web searches, desktop strippers and amorphous dancers aiming to draw the viewer into the screen. more info
AVATAR is inspired by the mantra, “I post, therefore I am,” referencing the way Internet users legitimize their existence by documenting their lives and uploading the data to personal webpages and blogs. In a striking audio/video/dance performance, Olafson's moves intimately through software, opening files on her personal computer and interacting with a built-in camera to explore methods of creating, validating, and disseminating one’s identity through the use of technology and the Internet. The performance inherently becomes a duet with technology as the artist makes use of live video feeds and projections to magnify, manipulate, and effectively broadcast persona and image. This series is based around the 60 minute performance but has numerous video works and drawings as extensions of the project. more info
Technical Description: this work was developed with both a live web camera feed as well as an external camera both run through the ‘Quartz Composer’ software, later updated to run on ‘Isadora’.
Created by : Patricia Allison
This is a very personal work for me. After being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis making art was one of the ways that I processed this big news. Learning a new way of working through my physical ability was an important step for me. I spent more hours than I should have on it but enjoyed every minute.
Dora Award winning choreographer Patricia Allison is a Toronto based artist. I advised her MFA thesis work in Dance at York University. This work was created as part of my 'Dance Video and Intermedial Performance' course in Fall 2017.
SAMPLE OF STUDENT WORK in the screen dance course
Created by : Joshua Swamy
First Contact is an exploration of one dancer’s relationship with the floor. Within the breaking style, there is a dynamic connection to the floor that changes depending on one’s posture; standing versus laying on the ground or having their hands touch the ground. As the posture changes, so does the relationship and how the engages with their dance. This is reflective of any thought process as it connects with another subject. When one is alone is drastically different when one is working with something else; when one begins to build a connection. The performance highlights how one performs alone alongside performing when connecting with the floor, and symbolizes all types of relationships and their dynamic shifting.
Joshua Swamy is a breaker who is currently completing his MA in Dance Studies at York. This work was created as part of my 'Dance Video and Intermedial Performance' course in Fall 2019.
OTHER Performance works with video
CPA [Consistent Partial Attention] offers a paradoxical meditation on what it means to be present in our contemporary screen-obsessed world. Developed through digital collage the CPA [Consistent Partial Attention] performance is guided by a video score of pre-existing / found Internet footage of individuals improvising in their homes. The performers sight read the choreographic score by referencing diverse sources and monitors. While the performers have familiarity with the digital dances, they can never fully know their ‘choreography’. Thereby CPA sustains as an exercise in ‘nowness’; the performers engage as interfaces in act of realtime translation of data / movement vocabulary from the video score. Through the rich confluence of sources we experience dance as a vernacular, learned language, permeating and crossing communities, provoking consideration upon the evolution of dance in the age of the internet.
CPA (Consistent Partial
Concept / Direction: Freya Björg Olafson
Researched & Performed with:
Lise McMillan & James Phillips
3:55mins of excerpts from the 75 minute performance - has taken place in both blackbox theatres and gallery spaces
This video is a document of my live performance over Skype, this is a condensed version of CPA broadcast from Olafson’s studio in Winnipeg over Skype. I run the live webcamera into Isadora which allows me to composite, create scenes, adjust music and add text. I then send the video into Syphon, which I then run into Manycam, which then I send to Skype.
Layered and colorful, almost as though animated, the body becomes a dreamscape in ‘Above | Beyond | Outside’. The video deploys an intriguing combination of SPF 60 sunscreen, clear UV reactive body paint and UV lights to reduce the dimensionality of the physical body to line. Olafson's physique is dissected and transformed, disappearing and merging with the screen. This video work is a part of a 60 minute performance work called 'HYPER_' (2013); the video to the right shows 3mins of excerpts from the live work.
Above / Beyond / outside
part of the HYPER_ series
Video | Performance | Paint: Freya Olafson
Music: Davíð Þór Jónsson
HD video | 3m30s
Installation or screening ( (Ideal installation is with three layers of black sharkstooth scrim hung about a foot away from each other off the wall, this produces a corps de ballet of floating figures, which get larger towards the back scrim / wall surface).