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7-16 June 2013

 Da Contents H2

July 24 2013
Past-present tensions
Keith Gallasch, Naala-Ba (Look Future), Carriageworks and ISEA2013

July 3 2013
Data noise & the limits of dance
Keith Gallasch, Myriam Gourfink & Kaspar Toeplitz, Breathing Monster

June 26 2013
Nailing the virtual
Virginia Baxter, Keith Gallasch, The Portals

Night work
Keith Gallasch, Embodied Media, Night Rage

Palpable virtualities
Keith Gallasch, Paula Dawson, Holoshop: Drawing and Perceiving in Depth

The big connect
Somaya Langley, The Portals

Transformational walking
Anne Phillips, Long Time, No See?

June 18 2013
Musical multiverses
Gail Priest, Polysonics

Rainbow over ISEA
Keith Gallasch, Electric Nights

realtime tv @ ISEA2013: Zydnei, Troy Innocent

June 17 2013
If a system fails in a forest, is anybody listening?
Urszula Dawkins, If a system fails in a forest…, 107 Projects

June 16 2013
In the digital age, love your stationery obsession
Urszula Dawkins, Durational Book

Painting by algorithms
Keith Gallasch, Ernest Edmonds: Light Logic

June 15 2013
Home, sweet home
Urszula Dawkins, disSentience, Sleeth, SelgasCano, Tin Sheds

Pop up pleasure zones
Gail Priest, Electronic Art Pop-Ups, The Rocks

June 14 2013
Aural ecologies, mechanical and musical
Urszula Dawkins, EchoSonics, UTS Gallery

June 14 2013
Heck, baby, I shoulda seen it comin…
Urszula Dawkins, The Very Near Future, Alex Davies

More than meets the eye
Virginia Baxter, Keith Gallasch, Point of View

New tools and old skool grammars
Gail Priest, Macrophonics II

realtime tv @ ISEA2013: The very near future, Alex Davies

Start by leaping off a small stool
Urszula Dawkins, ISEA Closing Keynote Address: Julian Assange

June 13 2013
A curative dose of spontaneity
Lauren Carroll Harris, pvi collective, Deviator

M e d i a a r t t h e n a n d n o w
Darren Tofts, Catching Light, Campbelltown Arts Centre

Olfaction, decay & speculation
Gail Priest, Raewyn Turner & Brian Harris, Ian Haig, Nandita Kumar, Verge Gallery

Riding the theta waves
Urszula Dawkins, Theta Lab, George Poonkhin Khut and James Brown

Run for your lives [2]
Keith Gallasch, Running the City, COFA, UNSW

To re-map and reclaim
Lisa Gye, Mapping Culture [panel]

Turning the media back on itself
Lisa Gye, Mark Hosler, Adventures in Illegal Art

June 12 2013
Outside the labyrinth…looking in at someone waving
Urszula Dawkins, SoundLabyrinth, Mark Pedersen and Roger Alsop

realtime tv @ ISEA2013: semipermeable (+), SymbioticA

Run for your lives [1]
Keith Gallasch, Marnix de Nijs, Run Motherfucker Run

June 12 2013
The uncanny in the gallery
Keith Gallasch, Mari Velonaki, Simon Ingram, Petra Gemeinboeck & Rob Saunders, Artspace

June 11 2013
realtime tv @ ISEA2013: EchoSonics, UTS Gallery

The science and art of tangible things
Urszula Dawkins, Synapse: A Selection, Powerhouse

Touch me there
Gail Priest, ISEA Artist talks: Siu, Baumann, Velonaki

June 10 2013
Being Stelarc
Gail Priest, Stelarc: Meat, Metal, Code: Engineering affect and aliveness

Life and death, and the membranes inbetween
Urszula Dawkins, semipermeable (+), SymbioticA

realtime tv @ ISEA2013: Catching Light, Campbelltown Arts Centre

June 9 2013
'Pure' experience, in the round
Urszula Dawkins, Pure Land, iCinema

Data lives
Gail Priest, Genevieve Bell, Mark Hosler, Paolo Cirio & Alessandro Ludovico

realtime tv @ ISEA2013: Velonaki, Ingram, Gemeinboeck & Saunders, Artspace

June 8 2013
Knowing your place in Cartesian space
Gail Priest, Ryoji Ikeda, datamatics [ver 2.0]

Stars and starlings, pixels and picknickers
Urszula Dawkins, Ryoji Ikeda, datamatics [ver 2.0] & test pattern


Myriam Gourfink, Breathing Monster Myriam Gourfink, Breathing Monster
photo Nicolas Chaussy
After the discussion, debate and some rancour (see aroused by Myriam Gourfink and Kaspar Toeplitz’s Breathing Monster in ISEA2013 as part of Performance Space’s Switched On program, I thought it best to write plainly about the performance in order to make clear what it actually looked and felt like and possibly meant.

In Breathing Monster, French dancer and choreographic researcher Myriam Gourfink travels from one end of a platform [fluorescent lights at each end] to the other in two discrete moves, each comprising low, extremely slow turns—delicately balanced and predicated on two or more points of the body (hand, knee, foot, elbow) being temporarily in touch with the floor. Anxiety about imminent collapse passes, replaced by pleasure in the quiet beauty of seamless micro-movement pitched against bassist Kaspar Toeplitz’s spatially epic live score—built live from “’data noise’ generated through the minimal gestures of the dancer—creating an intermeshed monster of movement and sound” (program note).

In this 50-minute performance Gourfink takes 25 minutes to reach resting point midway along the platform before venturing on again, her body only occasionally revealing the fine muscular tremors that speak of stress. It’s not an easy performance to totally commit to, but there is the sense of overall flow (as one audience member suggested it would be fascinating to see the movement sped up on film, likely to reveal Gourfink as propelled like tumbleweed) and, in an intimate staging, the opportunity to take in the minutiae of the mechanics of a body shifting not unit by unit but as a totality—as a foot touches down, a hand turns slightly, an arm arcs away from the forward movement, a leg extends, toes push up. Shapes classical and unusual form and dissolve.

If you’ve experienced Matthew Day’s more immediately arresting work you’ll see a kinship with Gourfink’s performance in which our sense of time is equally suspended, all attention focused on the remarkable capacity of the body to enter strange states of being. If Day vibrates in his circular trajectories, Gourfink oscillates cyclically between stasis and perpetual motion on her linear journey. With Day there’s a dramatic sense of evolution, with Gourfink the mood is near meditative. However, our contemplation in the Sydney Performance is challenged by Toeplitz’s Cell Block-rattling live score. There’s no obvious one-to-one correlation between movement and sound, the music has its own character, from the opening rumble through to swelling organ-like tones, metallic waves, siren-like keenings, blips, decelerating glides and, in the final stage, wild bass flurries, a chilling high buzz (the dancer’s body presumably at its most stressed) and then a slow, deep, windy descent into silence long after Gourfink has ceased moving, as nerves and muscles finally come to rest.

Some nonsensical reviewing, with no eye to detail or motivation, has judged Breathing Monster in the same terms as it did the performances of the Nederlands Dans Theatre, visiting at the same time as Gourfink. These artists’ respective creations are of very different orders, Gourfink’s offering not only a thing of beauty in itself, if taxingly minimal for some audiences, but movement that speaks of investigation and potential for dance more broadly—as does Matthew Day’s more theatrical assaying of the body at the outer limits of dance.

Breathing Monster’s being programmed in data-mad ISEA2013 makes some kind of sense, at least rhetorically. It’s not at all clear how Toeplitz’s computer is registering the dancer’s “minimal gestures” as “data-noise” and treating them as a score for improvisation. Had the data come directly from a wired-up Gourfink the notion of data flow might been convincing but, without a program note explaining Toepltiz’s process, Breathing Monster manifested as a quite indeterminant creature. The artist on her website puts it this way:

“This breathing monster is about stillness and the powerful presence of the sound: the apparent stillness of the dancer whose microscopic movements are based on the intense activity of her deep-breathing, and the sheer weight of the sounds produced by the bass as transformed—in real time—by the computer, and also disturbed by the data-noise created by the dancers minimal gestures.”

It would appear then, in the absence of wiring or cameras, that the term “data-noise” is at best metaphorical. In an ISEA in which much movement was generated interactively between audiences and technology, here was a work by a dance artist and a musician ‘interacting’ quite conventionally, if with powerful physicality and musicality.

Myriam Gourfink & Kaspar Toeplitz, Breathing Monster, presented by Performance Space & National Art School, Cell Block Theatre, 14-16 June

© Keith Gallasch; for permission to reproduce apply to [email protected]

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