Dancers Ashley Macqueen, Belinda Cussens, Caterina Macciola, Mike Green, Catherine Magill and Cliff improvise with the first iteration of the animation, Oceanic Living Data. The animation is cast through silk plankton mesh. The mesh once trawled the Southern Ocean for plankton as part of an ongoing program to monitor the health of the world’s oceans.
The first iteration of Oceanic Living Data is performed by dancers Caterina Mocciola and Ashley Macqueen and musician Fabio Muccini. They improvised within projections of animated tracings of scientific data and human gestures.
In Contact Improvisation, choreographic forms evolve through movement patterns generated by dancers through sensing flows of energy between each other. Although no performance is the same, signature movement patterns of individuals can be recognised. As in the data projected, patterns of movement change over short and long time periods.
Changes in movement patterns can be triggered by environmental change. For example, last night, when these photographs were taken, the sun was setting, temperature was falling and traffic noise from cars and planes was increasing. Towards the end of the evening the dancers became still, as if listening within and beyond themselves for silence. It seemed as if the group was claiming space and time beyond the busy urban life outside. The complex beauty of the patterns in the dance made me think of the complex beauty in the forces that shape the natural world.
Movement patterns of live performers add another set of data for observers to process. What new meanings does their dance add to understanding human connection to the natural world?
Introduction to presentation, Monday 7 May, Rozelle School of Visual Arts:
Tonight the Living Data installation is presented for the first time with live performers. The presentation will run for approximately 30 minutes. As the lights are lowered you will see animations projected on silk mesh that once trawled for plankton in the South Ocean.
Plankton are key indicators of the health of the oceans. Scientists study plankton, along with other plants and animals, for their responses to changes in our climate. Measurable changes in behaviours of plants and animals become data for scientists to study. Although I can’t predict how you will understand this work, my hunch is that you may recognise humans as data. Like many artists who seek to understand our place in the world, we learn from science, and our own experience, that we are part of a whole living system. Our hope is that something of your knowledge of this is reflected in the work.