Feature: Navigating Reality & Illusion

Friday 7 April 2006

Navigating Reality & Illusion
No technological other-worldliness either for Marie-Claude Poulin and Martin Kusch. For them there was no opposition between the natural and the artificial because “the human, dancing body is itself a technological tool”. Their work demonstrates this using responsive environments, or an intelligent stage that allows for interactivity. They give a dancer control over music, lights or filmed sequences in the performance space by wearing special sensor boxes and pads whose location is tracked by cameras and provides triggers in the computer that controls the stage. So, in their work, the “inner, micro-movements of the body’s nervous system are played out onto the projected space around it”. Scheme II is a labyrinth of reality and illusion where real and virtual spaces, live and pre-recorded performances, interweave and dissolve into each other.
Performing alongside a real-time film sequence of herself gives the dancer a kind of alter ego – a ghost that is her and yet not her. Poulin found this disconcerting: “at first you feel like you have no body because you begin to focus on something outside of it. You have to learn to forget about your virtual self, and embody it somewhere in the back of your mind”.

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