Not jazz or improv

Jazz and Improv theater have a lot in common. Both are examples of an art form where the parameters of the content are deliberately narrowed so that performers can freely create new work within those narrowed bounds.

A jazz improvisation will never have the depth and complexity of a well written symphony, just as an improvised sketch will never have the depth and complexity of a well written play. Yet the tradeoff is worth it, because this narrowing of writerly scope is accompanied by the thrilling feeling of new material being created right before an audience’s eyes (and ears).

Today I was having a discussion about my Chalktalk interactive drawing program in this context. Philosophically it has much in common with Jazz or Improv, since it focuses on supporting real time improvisory performance.

Chalktalk will never be able to support the visual complexity of a well animated film, nor should it. In its current incarnation, Chalktalk is meant to be roughly the equivalent of Jazz or Improv: a tool designed to be used by experts to communicate to an audience a real time improvisatory performance.

But what do we call this forthcoming field of “drawing based improvisation”. It’s not Jazz, and it’s not Improv.

Maybe we could just call it a Sketch. 🙂

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