- The Dancer and the Computer, Part Two
My work is on the frontier between still and moving images and performance. To create these images, the dancers have to become conscious through the filming process of the multitude of repressed bodies they abandoned in order to grow up. People seldom keep walking on all fours, but it is possible to bring out the body one would have had if one had refused bi-pedalism. I then went on with the same type of work with the face.
Nudes and face loops became choreographies. To get this special type of presence in a live piece, one needs to drop the idea that a body is on stage and build a body that is the stage itself, the performance space. So, logically, I started to imagine stages generated by bodies, as if a body could produce the space in which it evolves. To understand this strange idea it is enough to think of an animal weaving a cocoon around himself, or of a burrow where it is digging traces that become a volume it inhabits, or of what Rilke says about Rodin, that "he does not sculpt bodies, but the space around the bodies."
I use many kinds of material to build these prolongations of the body. First, construction-site material (Body in a metal structure, Bodies in fences, and Bodies in tubes), then some long fabric (Unturtled, Der Bau) and a group of dancers connected with one another (Collective Jumps). For Is You Me, choreographed with Benoît Lachambre and Louise Lecavalier, and featured in this section, I used drawings directly projected from the pen tablet onto a stage made out of six screens. This work mixed indiscriminately the graphic, choreographic, and dramaturgic dimensions. Dancers were turned into drawings by way of postures, movements, monochrome costumes, and by the weft of the beam of light, which embraces everything.
I then experienced different ways to take up the spontaneity of the drawing gesture of the hand on the computer: free continuous line, scribbling, hatching [End Page 60] patterns. Dancers wearing a black costume melt with their own shadows and with the black zones of the projections. The black trousers or hoodies have the same visual texture. Playing with these four elements (the live performers, the costumes, the shadows, the drawings) enables permutations between various degrees of realities and casts doubt on what belongs to the drawing and what belongs to the dance.
During the process of the work three points proved particularly fertile: the projection device covers the entire stage. The three wall and floor sections are turned into white screens. The back screen is discreetly divided into two parts between which the dancers can come and go. Part of the floor is made of an inclined plane, so there are six different screens. The dancers can literally perform inside the image when they stay in the vacant space between the slope and the vertical screens.
I draw directly on the screens, onstage. Photoshop tools remain on the desk, but I can see the opened page only onstage. It is by watching the interactions between the dancers and the drawing that I can deal with the perspectives, rectify them, and blur the location in space. At certain moments, the spectator can wonder if it is a volume or a drawing that is foregrounded, especially when the dancers' bodies seem to have only two dimensions left.
The drawing work cannot be done separately, without the bodies. The body work is meaningless when it is done without the counterpart of the drawing. The creative process implies both presences. It can seem trivial, but this evidence is lost for performers who are used to discovering music, costumes, setting, and lights for the performance in separate bits at the last moment. [End Page 61]
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