Last week, I traveled to Los Angeles to attend the American Association of Museum Annual Meeting and Museum Expo. This year’s theme was Museums without Borders and the pulse of many of the workshops focused on exploring the connections between cultures and genres. Many workshops focused on using contemporary culture and the intersection between varying cultures to shape the direction of museums. An example given was creating a specific event to reach out to a sub or youth culture to re-energize a museum. I saw the best example of blending two cultures not at the meeting; I came across it closer to home at the Cowell Theater at Fort Mason.
On the evening of May 30th, the final show of White Noise performed. It was a world premiere performance blending the choreography of Amy Seiwert and the software engineering of Frieder Weiss. Amy Seiwert is the director of the contemporary ballet company im’ij-re. Just like the deconstruction and rebuilding of the word imagery – im’ij-re artists believe “that ballet has an expressive and vital voice relevant for our current time…and…that through collaboration and experimentation, vibrant and courageous ideas can be expressed” (Amy Seiwert). Frieder Weiss brought his expertise of real-time computing and interactive computer systems to the table and in effect embodied the dancers in tangible space and time. Evolving from developing interactive systems and focusing on movement to sound relationships, Mister Weiss illuminated a timed and fluid integration of interactive media with the body in motion. “White Noise” blended beautiful and powerful dancing choreographed into a “White Noise” background.
The effect of this relationship was awe-inspiring. The dancers seemed to dance in a fourth dimension with the aid of the backdrop of projected media in sync to their movements. Their movements, angles, and time was marked and graphed through six acts so that you were seeing the abstract; space and time became tangible in both their limitations and potential. As a former modern dancer, it instilled a sense of incredible joy in me. One of the reasons I fell in love with modern dance and studied it for so long was the feeling that the past, present and anticipated future step became fluid and interchangeable. The pattern of music became tangible with movement. With so much coming to an apex, there was a great feeling of zen being immersed in dance. I have never seen a performance that captured so beautifully the feeling that brought me back to dance over and over again.
And words do not do the performance justice. It was a great example of blurring boundaries; technology and dance blended and made the abstract palatable. More information, videos and photograph of the performance and related content can be found at im’ij-re and Frieder Weiss’s website. Frieder Weiss will also be playing more with boundaries at the Goethe-Institut in San Francisco. He will be creating a projection piece for the Gallery. More information about this piece can be found here.