Jo Tomalin


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MESH by Kinetech Arts + MÆ​ ​-​ ​Motion​ ​Aftereffect​ at CounterPulse

above: MESH  - Dancers: Mariia Sotnikova and Hien Huynh. Design by Raymond Larrett - Photographer: Daiane Lopes da Silva

Dance with Technology – Sizzles with Movement!

CounterPulse in San Francisco presents two dance pieces integrating technology September 7-16, 2017 by two different companies in residence.

Opening the program, Freya Olafson and Yagiz Mungan perform MÆ – Motion Aftereffect. Olafson, a Canadian intermedia artist is also credited for the concept, video, audio and VR Motion capture. Mungan performed the live sound and is also credited for VR interactivity. The beginning images of VR (virtual reality) where Olafson wears special glasses are fascinating. These black outlined moving images on a brown background are projected onto the back are very compelling. The performance piece incorporated sections of different technology and movement, some more successful than others: brief spoken words, motion capture images, mimicking animated movement. It’s a bit of a demonstration of how technology can stimulate performance – the performer is interested in showing that we can be anyone we choose. Several sections that become a video game with sound effects and stunning animated projections are exciting!

MESH – Dancer: Daiane Lopes da Silva
Photographer: Weidong Yang


The final piece of the program is MESH, a new work with concept by Weidong Yang and Daiane Lopes da Silva, of Kinetech Arts. Choreographed by da Silva, MESH is an abstract piece integrating movement and technology into a surreal story about personal struggle against life-threatening illness. The stage set is very interesting at the start of the piece, with da Silva lying on the ground being ‘scanned’ by a narrow light, becoming a ghost like presence, with five white wire mask structures in a diagonal line next to her. In addition, four technical people sit at computers at the sides of the theatre. It’s a complete visual story told through everyone onstage, plus performers: Hien Huynh, Maria Sotnikova, Juliet Paramor, Travis Bennett, Raymond Larrett, and Weidong Yang.

MESH – Dancer: Juliet Paramor’s avatar through Motion capture (mocap)
Photographer: Daiane Lopes da Silva

The piece is fascinating and uses projections on bodies and the back wall creatively. Movement is interesting and da Silva’s choreography of oblique steps and strong physical gestures draw us in on this mysterious journey. Her movement is visceral and bound, half insect and half soul of a body, desperately trying to move to who knows where – then shadowing an animated avatar – to a pulsating soundscape. Projections of all shapes and sizes telescope in and out, as performers work around the lights and animation. A duo is sensory and eerie with quivering motifs. Ensemble lifts, holds, balances and falls follow in both human and animated skeletal form. It’s a moving piece and one where Yang and da Silva push the envelop of their work, so far.

More Information, Upcoming Productions & Tickets:

SEPTEMBER 7-9 AND 14-16, 2017

Jo Tomalin, Ph.D. reviews Dance, Theatre & Physical Theatre Performances
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