RE.PRE.SENT explores the challenges of locating our humanness in a constant context of technological mediation and distraction. It combines dance, text, video, and new media technologies to question how we touch one another amongst disorienting landscapes of our digitally interwoven existences.
Here is a text description written by Sarah Greenbaum:
"Before anything begins a projector situated down-center asserts itself as a key player in this work. A lean male performer turns the machine on and his body partially obstructs its bright light, casting a shadow on the white-painted cinderblock wall upstage. Quickly we realize a camera next to the projector captures his movement and plays it back moments later. Since the camera catches the full wall onto which the projector shines, a meta infinity info loop is quickly created between the camera and the projector— a mirror held up to a mirror. The performer is the catalyst but also finds himself caught in it all.
A woman joins him on stage and they interact in this strange world he created for them. Dystopian-flavored movement ensues; sometimes linear, sometimes soft. Their conversation feels carefully crafted yet unforced. They are exploring possibilities created by the time-delayed projection. It’s a duet between the two of them but it’s also a quartet— sextet— octet—between their past and present selves playing out for the audience in linear time, disappearing smaller and smaller into the projected image.
Thinking too much about the timeline spoils the experience of seeing it all unfold in a unified stage picture so I strive to keep a soft focus, taking it all in. But watching from the top of the 144-seat house I find I feel more connected to the performers on the screen, closer to them literally and emotionally—they are trapped. Although consciously I know they are the same as the real bodies on stage, they have been ripped apart by time and technology. It becomes about freedom; the original bodies on the stage may leave or make any number of other choices, while the bodies on screen are regulated to the result of the choices made by the irl performers and this provokes a disconcerting empathy.
Would my experience be different were I closer to the performers themselves? Almost certainly; something about my physical separation from the stage affects my experience of the work. I find myself wishing I could split myself as the performers do and experience the work from multiple perspectives (and dimensions.)
The male performer holds a notebook with “I am here” scrawled large and hapless up to the camera; something breathlessly depressing about the conflict between digital and analogue, and the performer gives us the sense that his handwritten note will only get to us—the audience—thorough the camera. Or is the note for the version of himself that has been captured by the camera, that continues to reflect his movements moments after he completes them, showing us his note moments later from inside the projection? Maybe, and if so, can the camera-preserved version of his immediate past do anything for him? Can we do anything for the past self, in his parallel digital reality- purgatory? Or is that where we are, too?”