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Dark


produced by: Jana Velinova

Introduction

An interactive site-specific dance video installation built with Processing, Kinect and Isadora.

keywords: Site-specific, dance video, reflections, darkness, blackness

Background

As a  dancer I’ve had the pleasure to work with interactive media artist Scott Snibbe. One of his works in particular, “Women Hold up Half the Sky”, I especially enjoyed working on and was one of my inspirations for this project. Snibbe’s piece is a permanent video installation that uses motion capture in a green screen space to create animations of the dancers as we portray women in science who have made significant contributions from ancient to modern times. Working this way was very enjoyable but also sparked my interest in whether there was a possibility to gather reliable motion capture data without the use of expensive equipment and a designated green screen space. 

Then too, a few months ago, I had the chance to meet Marc Downie and Paul Kaiser of OpenEndedGroup at the Wayne McGregor Dance Studios in London who also really inspired me. They gave a talk on their artistic work over the years and specifically with choreographer Merce Cunningham and musician John Cage. From their talk, I was influenced to think about the potential of childlike play within a computational art work and the displacement of reality and meaning that is possible in the virtual through computation that is not so easily accessed in the physical world.

Concept

What would happen if we experiment with darkness? In absolute darkness, “you can not tell exactly where the limits of your body are, and also where the limits of the outside space are…so that in the darkness you fall into a kind of vertigo in which you enter into this becoming space which only darkness can actually provide you. And in that space the question is: Am I alive, or not? Do I exist…” (Bucharest, 2015 Lepecki) 

So that being together with others in darkness allows us an experience of a new mode of existence away from being a person. An active and necessary depersonalization of the human happens in the dark, as Lepecki describes, and moves us towards de-materialization just as dance also does. What I was concerned with in making this project was the non- present, the remanence of memory as opposed to objects, the Derridean, the non-photo logical, all which give us the opportunity to live differently.