Daniel Fine

media | projection | system

 design & integration

Media Clown

Digital Media and Live Performance

Co-Principal Investigator, Co-Creator, Digital Media Designer, Performer



June 2019

Performance: Prague Quadrennial, Czech Republic


Co-Principal Investigator with Associate Professor Paul Kalina on a grant funded research project that integrates the newest digital technologies with traditional analog European clown routines (think Keaton not Bozo) resulting in a first of its kind live Digital Media Clown show. The research team is working in collaboration with the Departments of Dance and Theatre Arts, Partnership in the Arts, the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, industry partner Production Park (UK), and University partner Backstage Academy (UK). This under researched collaboration between disciplines, Universities and industry seeks to understand how the clown exists in the digital world, it’s relevance to the digital age and the codependency between the physical and digital worlds.


Media Clown revolves around the escapades of two clowns (one analog and one digital) as they prepare to perform a musical concert for the audience. Through repeated complications with the technology and an unruly music stand, the analog clown finds himself thrust into a digital landscape unable to escape. As the digital clown attempts to return his partner to the analog world, the analog clown finds himself trying to outrun speeding trains, escape the suction of a giant digital nose, and survive a complete system shutdown and reboot. After an audience member's daring rescue of the analog clown, the two clowns finally return to perform their unconventional concert utilizing the audience's personal devices to play sounds and PixMob’s portable transmitter and LED wristbands to conduct a magical symphony.


The team was awarded a summer 2018 Interdisciplinary Research Grant ($18,000) from the University of Iowa’s Obermann Center for Advanced Studies and has been invited to present the work-in-progress as part of the 2019 Prague Quadrennial (PQ ‘19) of Performance Design and Space, the largest international exhibition and festival event dedicated to scenography, performance design and theatre architecture. Of over one-hundred and thirty applications from around the world, Media Clown was one of forty-three to receive an invitation to participate from the peer-reviewed selection committee. Additionally, the team is in ongoing talks to premiere the finished work at Hancher Auditorium. The collaborative research and final stage of development at the Prague Quadrennial will result in an interdisciplinary touring production that blends cutting edge technology into the clown’s physical world in order to connect performers and audience members in a shared human experience through a digital/physical playground.


The creative research has four objectives:

Objective #1: Integrate digital art and new technologies with live clown performance.

Objective #2: Develop audience participation through the use of smart phone apps.

Objective #3: Create a template for international/cross University faculty and student collaboration and pre-visualization techniques.

Objective #4: Cultivate collaborative partnerships between the universities and commercial companies.

Tech Specs:

Front projection onto halographic scrim, rear projection, motion tracking, wearable technology, smartphone app development to control audiences phones.

Key Creative Team:

Co-Creator | Performer: Paul Kalina

Co-Creator | Technical Director: Shannon Harvey

Lighting/Set Designer: Courtney Gaston

Costume/Set Designer: Chelsea Ragen

Assistant Director: Sarah Hamilton

copyright 2020