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‘Performance conferencing’ coming to Salt Lake

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Jimmy and Beth Miklavcic, artistic directors for Another Language Performing Arts Company, have continued to expand the performance stage through technology.

The company was one of the first to use multimedia presentations in its productions and has continued to look to the future.

"We've always been two years ahead of the technology needed to do what we want to do," said Jimmy Miklavcic during an interview at his office in the Intermountain Network and Scientific Computation Center Auditorium at the University of Utah. "And instead of using what's out there, we are also developing new technology to perform our projects."

The company's latest production is "Interplay: Carnivale."

"People know about video conferencing," said Miklavcic. "What we are attempting to do is performance conferencing."

The concept, in a nutshell, is to simultaneously receive video performance from another venue, project it in another venue with a live, interactive performer, process it and send it to another venue.

Sounds simple? Well, the concept is, but the process isn't, Miklavcic said. "We if we get too much information, it bogs down the process, which slows down the visual. But we also have to think about the sound and music going out and what the live performers are doing as well."

Joining the Miklavcics in this project are virtual-puppet designers Marla Schweppe and Joel Geigerl of the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, cinematic display artist Mike Daley of Cardiff University in Wales and composer Joe Reitzer from the Technology Research Education and Commercialization Center in West Chicago, Ill.

While they won't actually be physically present at the U. during the performance, they will participate in the show, nonetheless.

"We'll get feeds in from New York, Wales and Illinois and we'll put them through our processor and send them back," said Miklavcic. "It will all be sent over on the Internet through video streams."

Beth Miklavcic said there is a sense of danger when presenting this type of performance because the technology is so new.

"Last year, we did a similar performance that involved the University of Alaska in Fairbanks," she said. "Then two hours before we were suppose to go on, a backhoe, digging 300 miles from Fairbanks, severed a broadband cable that we were suppose to use."

A few minutes before curtain, the system was back online.

"A couple of years ago we did a performance called 'Interplay: Performing on a High Tech Wire,"' said Miklavcic. "And that's exactly what it is. We're performing on a high tech wire. We could fall off at any time. But it is exciting."

"Another thing about this is the fact that we're doing research while creating these performances," said Jimmy Miklavcic. "If we didn't have the in-kind donations and our research time, we wouldn't have the means to do this at all."

If you go . . .

What: Interplay: Carnivale, Another Language Performing Arts Company

Where: Intermountain Network and Scientific Computation Center Auditorium, University of Utah

When: Friday and Saturday, 7 p.m.; Sunday, 4 p.m.

How much: $7

Phone: 531-9419

Web: www.anotherlanguage.org

E-mail: scott@desnews.com