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Hyperessay: Hunt (2002) by Marita Liulia



Hunt is a 40 minute contemporary dance performance that combines live multimedia and animated images. It premiered in Teatro Piccolo Arsenale, The Venice Biennale, 2002, and has been performed 177 times in 38 countries.

Tero Saarinen had choreographed and performed a mesmerizing solo to Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring”, which was described by himself to have brought out the “violent, primitive and animal side of man at the same time as the spiritual and sacred”. He performed as both the hunter and the hunted of his inner demons – relating to the interior conflicts of the individual, his interpretation being an “offering of himself as a sacrifice rather than being a victim of society”. These symbolisms are enhanced by a stream of animated images that Martia Liulia generates on the spot and projects on his body while he dances, resulting in a genius combination of music, dance, light and images in one sublime to converse a message.

While many have commended Saarinen’s stunning movement and have also recognized Liulia’s projections, few have looked at Liulia’s multimedia involvement as significant, in the sense where they do not seem to recognize how much these images actually affect the way the audience interprets the performance as a whole. In fact, some have even questioned her involvement:

“There’s a danger that the dance’s layer of technology overtakes its physical expressiveness.” – Francois Fargue, Donald Hutera, Dance Europe, 2002

Begging to differ, I believe that Liulia’s technological layer of live multimedia on Saarinen’s body does not “overtake the physical expressiveness” of his contemporary movement, but rather acts as an amplifier towards creating a stronger sense of immersion with the piece, therefore allowing for a better transmission of intangible, imaginative concepts behind the solo towards the audience.

[To demonstrate my point, please refer to 5:10 – 6:10 of the video with sound on.]

Saarinen stays bent over for a good 10 seconds, then slowly rolls up with his eyes wide open for the rest of the minute, while questionable images and eyes are projected all over his body and costume by Liulia, in correspondence to the intense music.

Now, imagine watching Saarinen roll up for a long minute to the intense creeping music, without any form of trippy projection of light and images on his body. Would the performance have had the same effect on you, your thoughts, your interpretation of what’s going on? Very bluntly, no.

I, personally, felt a sense of suffocation that was maybe what Saarinen was trying to portray. What are all these big, intense, scary eyes? Why are they all staring at me? Why are they coming from all over the place? It is through this projection of images by Liulia, combined with the movement and expression of Saarinen as well as the music,  that I am able to interpret my own understanding of the concept of hunting and being hunted. The eyes are those of society and/or my inner demons, and I am being hunted by them. They would not leave me alone! As the performance goes on, we get to see how Saarinen eventually offers himself as a sacrifice, rather than be a victim as he seems to be in this segment.


Ivan Sutherland had managed to give people a chance to “gain familiarity with concepts not realizable in the physical world” through his invention of “The Ultimate Display”, which created an augmented reality that allowed people to see the calculations of what is not recognized by the common. In my understanding, he basically created a world of his own rules, and made it possible for other people to enter and see for themselves through visualized mathematical calculations.

Although in not as literal of a manner as Sutherland’s “The Ultimate Display” in allowing people to see and understand something not currently realizable, I believe Hunt has also managed to immerse audiences in identifying an intangible image and/or message created by the combination of choreography, music, lighting design as well as Liulia’s multimedia projections. The message, of course, being Saarinen’s interpretation and physical translation of the music score as described before.


“The scientific study of control and communication in the animal and the machine.” – Norbert Wiener

Communication is defined as “the imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium”, hence despite Hunt not being an interactive piece between the performer and the audience where the audience affects the performance’s outcome through feedback, communication still exists where a message is still being transmitted from performer to audience.

With that, as discussed in class, there is an indefinite amount of combinations for the process of cybernetics, and this is what I’ve observed in Hunt:

Performance (Mixed mediums) + Data in individual audience’s minds = Interpretation

Every individual is bound to have their own interpretation of what is trying to be communicated, given that there are no words mentioned to help convey any specific message. Every individual has had their own experiences leading up to the point of time of watching the performance, and at the time would also be going through a particular phase unique to him/her that will essentially affect their thought process (input+data) resulting in their output (interpretation).


Given that the stream of communication only exists between performer to individual audience members, I would not say that the effects of Hunt is like hypermedia, which focuses on a nonlinear network of information as it seems more linear than not. Perhaps in another world where mind reading exists, the different outputs that exist in each audience member’s mind could act as intangible “images”, “movies”, “graphics” or “text” that others could tap into, therefore forming an intangible sort of nonlinear network of information.

(949 words)



Hyperessay: Key Work Selection

HUNT (2002)

By: Tero Saarinen Company and Marita Liulia (live multimedia, photos)

Hunt is a 40 minute contemporary dance performance that combines live multimedia and animated images. It premiered in Teatro Piccolo Arsenale, The Venice Biennale, 2002, and has been performed 177 times in 38 countries.

Tero Saarinen choreographed and performed a mesmerising solo to Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring”, which was described by Saarinen to have brought out the “violent, primitive and animal side of man at the same time as the spiritual and sacred”. He performed as both the hunter and the hunted of his inner demons – relating to the interior conflicts of the individual, his interpretation being an offering of himself as a sacrifice rather than being a victim of society. These symbolisms are enhanced by a stream of animated images that Martia Liulia generates on the spot and projects on his body while he dances, resulting in a combination of music, dance and video images in one sublime to converse a message.


It has been argued that Liulia’s technological involvement with the dance performance through her live multimedia projections could have acted as danger towards the dance’s physical expressiveness, yet I believe it could instead be the opposite, where her involvement helped amplify the audience’s sense of immersion with the piece, therefore allowing for a better transmission of intangible messages.

Typography: Expressive Words Opposing Pairs


Following a pretty straightforward concept, the isometric style creates an empty depth for Hollow and a filled one for Solid.

Suggestions include further exploration of style, such as maybe turning hollow into a sort of hole in the ground with tree roots coming out of it, as well as to adjust the font style where hollow could be more rounded.

Typography: Haiku


I’d actually written three haikus in total:

Haiku #1: Jupiter
The Great Red Spot looks
like a ginormous pimple
Rest well, Jupiter

Haiku #2: Oh No
1, 2, cha cha cha
3, 4, oh no no no no
I fell on the floor

Haiku #3: Help
The sun is so hot
I’m literally melting
Please don’t forget me

If I had the time I would love to come up with sketches for all of them, but I decided to go with the third one since it’s the most applicable one to how I was and am feeling.


One refined version:

While creating different sketches, I realised that I worked towards automatically placing emphasis on certain keywords in the poem – specifically sun, hot, literally and melting, by creating completely separate looks for these particular words, in contrast to other filler words. I wonder then, how could I make it so that all the words of the poem gel together well in one style, while still having emphasis be put in the right places?

It was a fun challenge though, to see how my brain could come up with different ways to represent certain words such as for ‘sun’ and ‘hot’. You could be literal with representation, using rays for ‘sun’ and fire for ‘hot’, or you could also use elements that suggest similarly, like a shadow for ‘sun’ and heat waves for ‘hot’. I definitely struggled with ‘melting’ though, and wonder if there are any other ways I could have done it without being so literal.

I also wanted the last line of the poem, “please don’t forget me”, to be small and/or hidden… because… yea. It’s like pleading to not be forgotten.

Hyperessay: Artist Selection


The artist that I have chosen is Marita Liula, an artist-director from Helsinki and Heinola, Finland, working in her own production company Medeia (est. 1997).

“The limits can only be found by experiment”

Marita started her artistic career in the theatre, starting her experiments with different art forms during the 1980s, including media art productions, paintings, photography, stage performances, short films, books and games. She has never stopped experimenting ever since, and her unique quality of integrating all these media forms together is what I find so intriguing.


Typography: The Crystal Goblet

Beatrice Warde’s exceptional metaphor of comparing the values of good typography and design to that of focus on an exquisite gold goblet against wine in a crystal clear glass, has opened my mind to a new perspective of observing what it means for there to be proper communication value, say purpose, behind design. She says, “for if you have no feelings about wine one way or the other, you will want the sensation of drinking the stuff out of a vessel that may have cost thousands of pounds.” This leads me to think of modern day and age where young designers are so focused on ‘aesthetics’ and making things ‘pretty’ that despite their ability to create designs that are perhaps pleasing to the eyes, their designs could potentially hold no value off surface, or rather there was never an intention for deeper value.

Warde’s main belief in printing is that it is meant to convey some sort of message from one mind to another, where “it is sheer magic that (one) should be able to hold a one-sided conversation by means of black marks on paper with an unknown person half-way across the world”. This puts into perspective her belief of the power of print, which she compares to that of fine art in which she describes as letting your “aesthetic sensibilities enjoy themselves unimpeded by your reasoning faculties”. While fine art was traditionally developed primarily for aesthetics or beauty, it could be argued that it is not true that all fine arts are intended for this sole purpose, and that fine artists not just today but also back then, could have had similar purposes of conveying such thoughts, ideas and images through their works just like printing does today.

What I derive from how she defines “type well used is invisible as type” is that the message should be allowed to speak for itself, and anything visually present does not have to be overly decorated in order to convey, for the wine should be seen in its own value through the transparent glass. This could perhaps parallel the possibility of fine arts having that similar purpose of conveying messages from one to another – maybe strokes well used is invisible as strokes, and words are not needed to bring an idea across. I could perhaps be interpreting her words entirely different from how she meant to convey them, and maybe you could say that this is in itself bad communication, but then again could this also be emphasising her point of how “type well used is invisible as type,  just as the perfect talking voice is the unnoticed vehicle for the transmission of words, ideas”? (P.S. This is just something I thought of, and could totally not be making any sense at all.)

I must say though, if I am thinking from her perspective that I understand when she says that  “printing in English will not qualify as an art until the present English language no longer conveys ideas”. Should the language be generally understood by the audience, their minds would likely be unable steer away from rational thinking and type would likely not be able to be used as invisible.

At the end of all this, I agree when Warde talks about how those who think are “ten times better as typographers” who are able to pull off the skill of letting type speak for itself as invisible, because a lot of times the most minimal amount of aesthetic details require the most questioning of where things should go. As Warde says, the first thing a good modernist typographer asks is not “How should it look?” but “What must it do?”.

Typography: Typographer of the Week: Paula Scher


I really loved the article by Alex Bigman, titled “Get to know Paula Scher, titan of postmodern design”, especially the portion where it highlights through quotes Paula Scher’s beliefs on not just typography and design, but also on one’s attitude.

Majority of these I don’t really have words for, rather I’ve decided to leave them here as they serve as some really good reminders – in terms of how I can grow, as well as how sometime’s… “it’s ok”.

As a fresh designer, it is definitely important to take in as much as you can so as to build up a strong foundation for yourself. While it is always encouraged to do what you believe in and to not let others’ opinions affect your work, I take what she says as a reminder to not get too defensive as a beginner as it would become difficult for yourself to develop, and that when you’ve reached a somewhat ‘qualifying’ level, then you should learn how to “explain, defend, and promote your work” because YOU DO YOU!

I don’t have much to say about this one, but just leaving this here because I believe we’re all guilty of being really close minded one way or another!


To all the people who hold their expectations too high for me: I’m not God.



I’ve always struggled with creating ‘minimalist’ designs, and I guess this probably explains why – because I’ve realised, and have been told, that I always produce work better when I relate to them on a personal level, and when I try to create clean designs I’m struggling with the lack of ability to express and be engaged with my design. However, it is still a goal for me to learn how to produce ‘clean’ and ‘minimalist’ works, just because it is such a struggle for me. Hehhh.



I find it astonishing that Scher is able to pull off both corporate and “fun” designs, comparing the Citibank logo to her “loudly expressive poster designs of historic Public Theatre productions like Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk”. 

Citibank Identity 6



On top of these, I also admire her style and ability to create really expressive type designs while still somehow staying clean at the same time! It’s like a combination of the last two quotes that I had attached to this post above. Perhaps this could be a style I could look towards when I try to create clean designs while still trying to hold expression.

Free Shakespeare In The Park 2018 7Reflect Us 4

And the ones below are super duper expressive, but she still balances it off with the clean layout. Hmm. Love it.