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la Biennale di Venezia
Main Visual Sezione Danza EN (new)


Chunky Move (Australia)

5 - 6 June, 7 and 10 p.m.
Tese delle Vergini
Glow (2006, 30’) [European premiere]
concept and choreography Gideon Obarzanek
interactive system Frieder Weiss
original music by Luke Smiles/motion laboratories
sound Luke Smiles
costumes Paula Levis
with Kristy Ayre, Sara Black
produced by Chunky Move
with the support of the Arts Victoria and Australia Council for the Arts
Founded by artistic director Gideon Obarzanek in 1995, the Chunky Move company, based in Melbourne, has made a name for itself on the contemporary scene for works that go beyond the borders of genre, between dance, new media, installations, site-specific works, in which interactive video technology plays a leading role, with the use of computers, laser projectors and software of the latest generation. It is no chance, therefore, that Chunky Move last year won a special mention for Mortal Engine in the “hybrid arts” category at the Ars Electronica awards – one of the most important prizes dedicated to creativity and the pioneering spirit in the world of digital media. It subsequently won a Bessie in 2005 for Tense Dave and the prize for the best work for the “hi-tech” solo, Glow (2006), the show that will have its Italian premiere at the Biennale di Venezia.
Twenty-seven minutes of a highly intense solo, Glow creates a perfect alchemy between performance, visual arts, electronic sound and installation. The sole protagonist is a woman: Kristy Ayre, an original performer who today alternates with Sara Black, a 22-year-old member of the group. With a disembodied body and dressed in light, with the pulsating rhythm of a sonorous carpet that degrades into white noise, the dancer draws out her movements, now taut, now flowing, on a rectangular and completely white floor, surrounded by black wings, like on a screen. Every movement is recorded and manipulated to refract the dance into a kaleidoscope of forms and images, to the point that one no longer understands whether it is the performer’s movement that models the light, or whether the spotlights determine the forms and movements of her body. The dancer seems to follow the fascinating but also terrifying progress of the creation and evolution that transform her into a living organism, through movements that start as squirming, leaps and quiverings and then slowly unfold and take on human semblance, emitting a searing primitive scream.
The magic of the show derives from the algorithms of German engineer Frieder Weiss, inventor of the video-motion-sensing programme “Kalipso”: a sensitive video-camera follows the flow of the dancer’s body exclusively using infrared rays and thanks to a computer, forming a system that is almost illusionistic and created violent electric colours across a floor of pure white. The system does not use pre-recorded images and everything happens in real time. “Is it possible to light up the body of a dancer isolated in darkness?” Obarzanek had asked Weiss when he met him at a congress of interactive dance in Monaco in 2005. From this meeting and question arose Glow, a show in which technology never has the upper hand but intensifies the effects of the dance, transforming the world around the performer in real time, a world which she herself helps to create.
Gideon Obarzanek - The son of Polish immigrants of Jewish origin, Gideon Obarzanek spent 8 years of his childhood in an Israeli kibbutz before moving to Melbourne, where the passion for dance appeared totally by chance when he went to a party for the 14th birthday party of a close friend and began dancing. Despite the fact that his father steered him towards scientific studies, Obarzanek abandoned university to go and study at the Australian Ballet School, thereby sealing his destiny.
Obarzanek has danced for the leading Australian companies, the Queensland Ballet and the Sydney Dance Company, before undertaking an independent career as choreographer and performer, which took him around the world. He has received commissions from the Australian Ballet Company, the Sydney Dance Company, Opera Australia and the Nederlands Dans Theater (1992), a company that influenced his approach to his work as choreographer. It is here that developed the idea of long rehearsals and the need for research. Upon his return to Melbourne, he founded his own company, for which he creates short avant-garde works like Tense Dave or I Want to Dance Better at Parties, as well as site-specific creations and pieces for night clubs and even shopping centres.