Move’s latest piece, Glow, is a multimedia experience
that leaves one feeling deeply altered. Based on the collaboration
of Australian choreographer Gideon Obarzanek and software
creator Frieder Weiss, a subconscious world—a technological
universe—is revealed, where a single human battles forces
lights dim within the small black-box theater, the silhouette
of a solo dancer creeps into the performance space, resting
in a primitive squatting stance at the edge of the stage.
The figure begins to transport herself smoothly across the
space, propelling her weight forward in a tightly bound army
crawl. As she traces the length and width of the stage, defining
her environment, her extremities remain lit, as if she is
carrying her own light source.
moves, the light tracks her, responding to and containing
her every gesture. The light becomes her interpreter, without
which she is an unframed anonymous form. What occurs is an
ongoing process of movement informing light, which then alters
the movement itself.
system at play involves an infrared light source and an adjacent
camera hung above the performance space. The camera picks
up the outlines of the moving figure and traces the information
back to an offstage computer. The information is then manipulated
through Weiss’ original software and projected onto the floor
beneath the dancer, continually responding to her every move.
is gradually introduced to a range of visual effects. First
is the simple outline of the dancer, then a moving grid that
extends from the outer points of her body. Later, the dancer
is enveloped in a box of light, with darkened lines underneath,
as if resting on top of a virtual stack of cards. As she unfolds
each leg and arm, the cards appear to splay out in the wake
of her motion.
these tricks seem harmless and quirky, revealing the creative
possibilities of combining dance and technology in a neutral
setting. However, about halfway into the 30 minute piece,
the sense of safe experimentation is replaced with a deeply
point, the dancer lays on her back, arms at her side, with
a thick outline of light, not unlike the chalk outline of
a crime victim. The dancer then heaves her body to various
corners of the stage, lying still long enough to leave behind
a darkened and lifeless imprint of her body.
track departs from its mystical techno humming and adopts
an apocalyptic drone. As the vibration intensifies, the dancer’s
remains seem to take on a life of their own. The forms become
hauntingly mobile and approach the dancer from behind, ultimately
re-inhabiting her body as she stares blankly into the audience.
has a voice within that is struggling to free itself, to escape
from the programmed technological world that contains her.
At times she lays with her chest jacked upward and her head
and eyes hung back, as if possessed. At other moments, she
lets out high-pitched, yet muffled, screams as she thrashes
about on the floor.
appears to be in the throes of an exorcism. However, there
is a suggestion of universality in her experience.
the process of stepping outside of irreconcilable aspects
of oneself,” noted Obarzanek in the program. “She is constantly
evolving, shifting between one set of values and another,
trying to find what’s human.”
certain elements of Glow are nightmarish and disturbing,
there are moments when the dancer lays peaceful and stoic,
seemingly lit from within, much like the final image of the
piece. Having exhausted all possibilities of movement, the
dancer lies still as a beam of light narrows and focuses itself
to a palm-sized field on her torso.
is little distinction between her still body and the lifeless
floor beneath her. However, as the light searches for movement
to react to, it senses a subtle trepidation, which is the
dancer’s own heartbeat. The light responds and trembles upon
the surface of her abdomen, as if to proclaim that life and
purpose have been preserved in the aftermath of intense self-exploration.