info I contact
advertising
editorial schedule
acknowledgements
join the realtime email list
become a friend of realtime on facebook
follow realtime on twitter
donate

magazine  archive  features  rt profiler  realtimedance  mediaartarchive

contents

  

from screen dance to screen based

chirstinn whyte: moves10, framing motion, liverpool uk


Cinetica Cinetica
A LARGE CLOUD OF VOLCANIC ASH, SUSPENDED OVER BRITISH AIRSPACE AND SEVERELY DISRUPTING INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL, THREATENED TO CAST A PALL OVER MOVES’ FIVE-DAY PROGRAM, THIS YEAR RELOCATED FROM MANCHESTER TO A NEW AND WELL-RESOURCED HOME BASE AT LIVERPOOL’S BLUECOAT ARTS CENTRE. NOW IN ITS SIXTH YEAR, THE FESTIVAL IS ALSO NEGOTIATING THE POTENTIALLY TRICKY BUSINESS OF REGIME CHANGE, WITH INCOMING DIRECTOR GALA PUJOL AT THE HELM OF AN EXPANSIVE OPERATION, COMMITTED TO A REGION-WIDE, NON-TRADITIONAL SCREENING REMIT; A PAN-EUROPEAN NETWORK OF PARTNER FESTIVALS; AND TO SHOWCASING THE WIDEST POSSIBLE RANGE OF SCREEN-BASED MOVEMENT—WHICH MAY OR MAY NOT INCLUDE ELEMENTS TRADITIONALLY RECOGNISABLE AS ‘DANCE.’

While the ash cloud only succeeded in postponing program from Iceland, Hungary and Portugal to a rescheduled autumn event, a sense of generational handover pervaded every aspect of the festival. Work by a new crop of artists, filtering into mainstream programming, included the shifting subjectivity of Marina Tsartsara’s green-and-gold, meadow-set Through (2009) and the microscopic movement world of Fiona Geilinger’s charcoal-effect Pinstripe (2009). There were excursions into Second Life, the sporadic appearance of mobile phone pixillation—as distinctive as film grain—and the unvarnished immediacy of a YouTube aesthetic mixed with high-end finish from established, international ‘names’, such as Cordelia Beresford’s Sydney-set Night Shift (2009) and Marlene Millar and Philip Szporer’s spotlit, fragile Falling (2009). With additional links to the Watching Dance conference, held in parallel in Manchester, three home-set presentations on “Framing Motion” fielded Kate Sicchio’s notion of programmer as choreographer, composing pixels in frames within frames; Vida Midgelow on the politics of documentation, casting improvised movement as a process of disappearance; and Liverpool-based Gina Czarnecki’s outlining of her professional evolution from painting to film and then video, culminating in a slowed moment—captured in green-tinged night-vision—of close-in, facial transformation, from recent work Spintex (2009).

Synchronisation Synchronisation
The newly-introduced Alternative Routes awards resulted in a striking line-up, with first-prize winner Rimas Sakalauskas’ Synchronisation (2009) using the disquieting language of 1960s sci-fi in a slow-burn aggregation of sound and image, with a hollow metal sphere rising slowly, unnoticed, from a children’s play area, and a satellite’s revolving shadows hovering over patchworked landscape. Receiving special mention, a series of luminously monochrome images—an airborne arc of rock; an unearthed sunflower stalk; metal chairs suspended from writing-papered walls—in Ana Cembrero’s Cinética (2009), threaded through episodes of recognisably codified dance, with Thomas Browne’s Aston Gorilla (2009) capturing a young son’s dream image of his football-shirted, ape-masked father through a subtly edited movement language of simian swings and grabs. In addition, highly stylised diary-entry disruptions—the buzz of a house fly, the patterning of leaf shadow—in Marcin Wojciechowski’s Interferences (2009) sat against the graphic simplicity of Stuart Pound’s Dance 0-19 (2009) with its quick-fire progression of doubled, tripled, at times quadrupled numerals, white against a dark screen, illustrating the complex algorithmic workings of an intricate gamelan score.

Addressing issues at the heart of Moves’ identity, and reflecting widespread groundswell of artform shift, festival co-curator Gitta Wigro chaired a roundtable discussion of “Screendance on the Verge,” highlighting the dangers of artificial distinctions imposed around a self-titled niche. Pauline Brooks, of Liverpool John Moores University, outlined her role as facilitator for an emerging generation of screen-literate artists, while Claudia Kappenberg, head of the AHRC Network for Discourse and Publication in Screendance, emphasised the need for a body of informed writing within the field, also setting out her involvement as co-curator in the recent artist-led What If...Festival. Calling attention to the increase in hybridity across all forms, Jamie Watton, Director of South East Dance Agency, also noted the end of the producer-led era, acknowledging artists’ role at the centre of the creative process, with this shift reflected in a change of terminology from ‘screendance’ to the more open-ended ‘screen-based work.’

River Dreams River Dreams
Illustrating this change of emphasis, a range of highly distinctive voices, scattered across scheduling, included Daniel Hopkins’ horizontal arrangement of subway train travel as blue/green stripes of periodic motion blur in Movement #1 (2009); the heightened materiality of Heidi Phillips’ archive footage in Discovering Composition in Art (2008); Richard O’Sullivan’s close-in, time-sliced landscape of rock and tree in Palimpsest (2008); Morgan Beringer’s partially glimpsed world of breakthrough between frames in Abstraction 27 (2009); and the soft fluidity of Betsy Dadd’s pastel lines in 8000 Drawings (2009), achieving a Norman McLaren-like state of never-settled flux. In addition, Sanke Faltien’s smoothly continuous camera motion through road-tunnel-set Queensway (2009) followed film-grained monochrome pathways of snaking white lines and overhead strip lights, and in Beatriz Sánchez’ highly accomplished River Dreams (2009) decontextualised fragments—a heeled, strap-fastened-shoe; the tiered flouncing of a polka-dotted flamenco dress; finger work against guitar fret board—took on the rippled fluidity of an underwater movement state.

In a particularly strong documentary-influenced programme, the deceptively simple surface gaze of Nick May and Ben Holland’s Food Chain (2009) surveyed Escher-like, multi-angled conveyer belts, the repetitive gestural unison of eye-deadened production line workers, and a single, flailing onion. Bronwen Buckeridge’s camera in Lacuna Cut (2009), closed in on the ritual application of mask-like face paint, abstracting to a red spot; a pink stick; encroaching expanses of blue, white and gold. Against the static foreground of a roughly textured field, archive wedding photos and architectural structures in Jonathan Franco’s Living Land (2008) momentarily flash up, and are gone, and in Carlos Amelia’s powerfully understated Tierra Y Pan (2008), slow, outward camera motion locates a dog tied to a post within a wind-whipped, desert-set horizon line, as focus gradually recedes from episodic and unsparing narrative detail, revealing in turn a heavily pregnant woman, a doctor’s bag, a spade.

Near the festival’s end, Daniel Bird’s contextualisation of Armenian filmmaker Sergei Paradjanov’s “dynamic, frenetic” symbolic language in The Colour of Pomegranates (1968) cast a long shadow across scheduling, identifiable in Anne Harild’s Morandi Room (2008), with front-on camera perspective catching the surface sheen of proliferating, differingly-shaped vessels, and the shifting gleams of light on rising water-level. Paradjavnov’s legacy was also evident in the snowset tableau of Galina Myznikova and Sergey Provorov’s Despair (2008) and in the poetic economy of a young female face in greyscale, close-in, slowed-motion, shaking blade-like wettened hair in Myznikova’s The Girl—Helicopter (2008).

Sited throughout the Bluecoat, installations included the linked remote screens of Charlotte Gould and Paul Sermon’s al fresco Urban Picnic, codes for mobile phone downloads created by Salford University students, and the rich visual arrangement of Sara Bjärland’s monochrome dandelion seeds in 80 Movements (2008), with a series of carefully composed slides appearing at rhythmically projected intervals. Across the four-frame line-up of Katrina McPherson and Simon Fildes’ Crux (2009), a quartet of male boulderers—captured in the detail of white-taped fingers, a beaded bracelet, a circular tattoo—attempt the unfakeable physical engagement of sheer exterior ascent, with slow eye scans and sudden drops, reaches for stone ledges and rock shelf and hand holds and finger crevices also recorded in the linear verticality of Laban-notated scores. Elsewhere, a single participant is guided through an immersive audiovisual experience by the intermittent touch of an unseen hand in Clara Garcia Fraile and Sam Pearson’s When We Meet Again, and left to re-enter real space alone with a smile and the gift of a single strawberry.

Viewed from within a landscape of hybridisation and boundary-crossings, Moves is looking like a festival whose time may just have come. Emerging into early evening light, the sky above Liverpool is a bright, clear blue, and not a cloud in sight.


Moves10, Bluecoat Arts Centre, Liverpool & venues throughout the north-west, UK, April 21-25

RealTime issue #97 June-July 2010 pg. 25

© Chirstinn Whyte; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

Back to top