Photo by Chelsea Rowe


Saturday, March 1, 2003

Maria Softsi Dance On Camera Journal The Grimaldi Forum, a Conference and Cultural Center situated just above the sea in Monte Carlo, houses the Monaco Dance Forum 2002. From a distance you see only the top of this modern construction made of glass and cement. Once you enter the lobby you realize that most of its halls and spaces lie underground and even under seal level. The space was swarming with people from all over the world. Moving in between presentations, dance-tech labs, multimedia installations, interviews, performances, film projections and lots of meetings, artists, correspondents and visitors gave one a unique energy. One of the most interesting parts of the Forum was the "Multimedia Works Exhibition," an area filled with booths presenting various concepts on performing arts and new media. Exhibitors and visitors exchanged a seemingly endless flow of ideas and knowledge. In that energetic and yet relaxed atmosphere, I was struck by a film projected on the far back wall. I was arrested by its fast, repetitive-as-a-heartbeat music that resonated throughout the space. I adored the changes in dynamics between the neurotic rhythms of a city to the calmness of a grassy rounded top of a hill or a beach in winter. In all frames a man in black suit and a hat, as a surreal Don Chicot and most evocative presence, invaded each space. The juxtaposed code patterns, shown on the lower part of the projection, seemed to be a secret code for the existence and purpose of this man. Later, I learned that choreographer/dancer Yannis Adonious, with choreographer Tomi Paasonen, and director Evann Siebens, had created that film, titled imageWord.not_a_pipe_, presented as a part of the proposed installation. The figure (Yannis Adoniou), wearing an overcoat and a bowler hat, dances on a deserted windy beach, over a grassy knoll and through a crowded street. He represents the "Everyman," Margritte's familiar symbol. Evann Siebens used surrealist film techniques, frames within frames, graphics, text and interpolated objects that float around the dancer: an apple on top of hat, a pipe in the mouth, an open/closed umbrella, a mirror reflecting the man, a scarf - all of them instruments in a kinetically wise performance. The artists wrote that, "The film references Michel Foucault's text on homony-mous Magritte's famous painting Cecin'est pas une pipe by transporting words and images into code patterns from programming language to explore the distinction between similitude and resemblance." imageWord.not_a_pipe= is a powerful film that lingers in one's mind long after it's been seen. No wonder Mr. Philippe Baudelot, director of the multimedia project, chose this film as a background for his TV interview. The installation is a media/dance that incorporates live mixing Video Jockey (VJ) techniques, visual sensory techniques, text, and computer code into the live performance of dance. The installation was first presented at the Ballet Frankfurt Depot 2003, March 23rd in Frankfurt, Germany, on three screens in a movable environment created by Canadian architect and new media artist Innes Yates. In the KUNST-STOFF festival in San Francisco in 2004, the work will feature five projections while Adoniou interacts with his own live, mixes images, joined n the work by five additional dancers. The phrases generated by Siebens will result in a real time interaction between dancers and video.