Fine Art

| May 5, 2012 | 1 Comment

Where mad science and artistic technology converge: Daniel Fine dyes fabric for handheld projection screens for ASU's House of Spirits

Daniel Scott Fine has always been a rebel. A consummate theater person, no one has a better sense of staging, better feel for design, better awareness of light; yet he railed against the theater, proclaimed it static, powerless. He forever demanded that the theater stretch its limits, that it encompass a wider range of realities and include a broader perspective on what might or might not be real than the theater he was seeing. And today he has found a haven where he and others of like mind will develop just such theater, theater that uses technology to change its world.

Todd Baker, Rayne Stockton and George in Uptonanda, by Daniel Fine

Keith David and Sandy Duncan, in G-Spots?, by Daniel Fine

Fine has had a varied career since he founded his first theater company at age 17, and he has directed productions for professional and educational theater companies; he has also produced and directed a number of film projects, including G-Spots?, a narrative short film that won a number of festival prizes in 2000, and Uptonanda, an award-winning Mockumentary in 2004. Even before it was commonplace to see multimedia as part of theatrical productions, Daniel was employing those he could access.

In 1998, he produced and directed a dance and puppetry-infused production of King Gordogan, an obscure but brilliant surrealist play by Croatian playwright Radovan Ivsic, for which he commissioned an original soundtrack that he mixed and used to motivate his lighting design.

King Gordogan, by Radovan Ivsic, directed by Daniel Fine, Educational Center for the Arts, New Haven, CT

The following year he designed a scheme for projecting digital images to create the eerier elements of the set for a production of Sweeney Todd. Over the ten years I have known him, he has always stretched his talents to seek ways to blur the lines of theatre, film, video, performance art, and movement to tell profound stories.

Now he’s engaged in a full-on immersion into his passion, exploring ways to eradicate the distinctions that divide the media, finding answers that both excite and exhaust him. He is in, of all places, Arizona.

Gear Set-Up for Survivor's Way

Sounds counterintuitive, doesn’t it?  But Arizona State University, in the center of that bastion of redneck hostility, has a program designed with the effetely intellectual likes of Daniel Scott Fine.  ASU’s School of Theatre and Film, in collaboration with the Arts, Media and Engineering (AME) program., is pioneering digital culture and integrating it into productions in ever new and ground-breaking ways, and they are conferring Master’s and Ph.D. degrees on people like Daniel so that they can not only do more but teach as well.

In February, he designed and created the digital projections for a play called Unsung Heroes/Untold Stories at Arizona State University, a centennial celebration of Arizona’s statehood, commissioned for the Centenniel Project directed by Pamela Sterling and performed by ASU Drama department students. One vignette, about artist Borislav Bogdanovich, who moved to Arizona in the mid-1960′s, was told amid a collage of Bogdanovich’s fabulously colorful paintings, and the story almost told itself.

Digital projection of Borislav Bogdanovich's work in Unsung Heroes/Untold Stories at ASU

As the Media and Co-Technical Designer on Alex Oliszewski’s The Survivor’s Way, Daniel not only collaborated to bring over 116 lighting instruments, endless cables and adapters, 8 performer/operators including a clown, 7 cameras and a kinect into the act; he was back onstage performing with an eight foot table of gear loaded with myriad digital and analog video/projection tools.

Daniel Fine in First Processing sketch capturing basic RGB and Depth Images from XBOX 360 KINECT.

In the picture he posted on Facebook, Daniel looks like a satisfied kid in a souped up sandbox. No wonder! He’s making Theater that paves new byways, a multi-media extravaganza for the future.

An image from Survivor's Way, by Alex Oliszewski

An Image from Survivor's Way, by Alex Oliszewski

Life as a grad student has been both challenging and draining, providing a wide variety of opportunities for Daniel Fine to explore and demonstrate his vast store of talent.  In addition to his teaching assistant duties, he has been the Props Master for six productions in the theater, has served as te Media Design/Operations Assistant for an Emerge Interactive Media Festival held in March, designed media, programmed the Isadora and operated the camera for Survivor’s Way, and he is already preparing to design media for Bocon and to Assist Jacob Pinholster on POV in Fall, 2012. Additionally, he will be designing media and co-creating an original one-woman show called SparrowSong to be presented in Spring, 2013.

Fine lives with his wife the talented photographer, artist and therapist Dana Keeton in Tempe, AZ.

Daniel Scott Fine and Dana Keeton


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Category: Features

  • Befinetoday

    Wow! I see you. The butterfly is coming out of its cocoon