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Devolution :: machine descriptions

http://www.adt.org.au/page/default.asp?site=1&page=588&id=588 [sorry, can't find many pics!]

Light Scaffolds:

Three large structures hung from tracks across the ceiling. Each segmented into three rectangular frame boxes containing spots, linked by a system of pistons that could be maneuvered individually, as well as along the tracks..

These would move according to the action happening onstage, lighting and often interacting with the dancers.

Light pylons:

Lights attached to articulated arms that would move and strobe. These mainly functioned as directional lighting.

Bugs:

chittering six legged creatures moving across the stage counterpointed by a lone naked human at the centre. long power cables going up to the ceiling, gradually drag bugs back and into air where they spin, two to an axis, sometimes colliding.

Large Mobile Claws: Two eight [six?] legged machines with a central jointed articulated arm with claw like appendage and lights. moves, interacts with dancers, then seem to interact with each other, move back to position.

Ceiling Column: extends from ceiling with lights on the end, jointed and flexible, like a caterpillar.

Protheses:

Several kinds.. back 'whip' extension, would move independently on a system of small pistons as the dancer threw herself about.

Leg extensions moved in choreography as the dancer held himself in a headstand coming off the feet [the dancer got into position by dragging himself across the stage].

chest and arm extensions, several people wore these and the extensions moved in sync.

In total, the effect of the extensions was to 'extend' the human bodies in unusual ways, forcing the dancers to incorporate and move with the machinic phylum into their own flesh..

5 Mar 2006 (updated 8 Nov 2007 at 05:43 UTC) »
Review :: Devolution :: Australian Dance Theatre

Incorporating robotics with dancers, ADT's Devolution was an extremely high energy exploration of the conflicts and confluences between humans and machines.

The dancers themselves moved in sycopated yet organic ways, echoing and echoed by the machines themselves, which ranged from huge piston driven light scaffolds, to smaller bug like creatures.

Although not autonomous [i think], the machines were programmed as an integral aspect of the performance.

They were not designed to be anthropomorphic, rather the dancers themselves moved in ways that seemed 'extended human', as if the human body itself had been reprogrammed.

The dancers' movements were informed by a more biological approach to machine design rather than the cliche angular 'robotic' type movements of popular culture. At times they would combine and recombine in strange ways [well, strange to anyone unfamiliar with cellular automata ;)].

At times the dancers were also 'augmented' by prostheses as the lines between organic and inorganic became blurred.

It reminded me at times of the cult Japanese metal fetish movie, Tetsuo: Iron Man [http://project.cyberpunk.ru/idb/tetsuo.html] as humans would twine, move and join together with themselves and their metal counterparts..

The notion of machine biologies was explored in ways not seen much in western culture, closer to an 'anime' [Japanese animation] cyborgian aesthetic [dancers moving in ways almost but not quite human] often unexpected dynamics.. stuttering movements, falling down as if power had been suddenly removed, 'flock' behaviour.. etc..

The whole performance was violent, hyper kinetic, sensual.

The music was industrial tech noise, with harsh grinding sounds and electronic haze, enhancing the hydraulic nature of much of the actual machine sounds. The video aspects were more 'genetic' in nature, images of bodies combined and recombined in a kind of post-human cell division.

The ADT has been touring their shows the last few years, so if it comes near you, I would definitely recommend you go see it, especially if you like modern dance and/or robotics..

Devolution::Australian Dance Theatre

Artistic Director: Garry Stewart [Australia]

Machine Designer: Louis-Philippe Demers [Canada]

Filmmaker: Gina Czarnecki [UK]

ADT Home Page [inc. video link]: http://www.adt.org.au/page/default.asp?page=Repertoire&site=1

tangent23 Adelaide, South Australia March 2006

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