3xperimentia: Live Cut
Felicity Arts @ Mercury Cinema
8:00pm, Sun 22 Mar 2009
And so it came down to this: my last show of 2009, the hundred-and-third. And, coincidentally, there just happens to be a bit of a soirée, a very convivial atmosphere, champers and nibbles in the foyer of the Mercury; lots of smiles and laughter. My geeky t-shirt attracts a like-minded fellow and, after a bit of a chat, I discover that he was involved with the programming behind the 3xperimentia production; given I had no idea what the performance was about, our conversation piqued my interest markedly.
Upon entering the Mercury, the audience members were issues a pair of 3D glasses – the polarised kind, not the red/blue. This, again, was a bit of a surprise, even though it was explicitly mentioned in the Fringe Guide; I’d completely failed to comprehend the significance of all those words. This production of 3xperimentia, as the show title suggests, is a “live” dance performed in a virtual space and projected onto the Mercury’s cinema screen in 3D (amidst pre-recorded video). And, as the performance began, we were gently introduced to the 3D effects; and they’re very convincing, leaving me wondering where the ball that I was seeing hovering above a chap in the first row was appearing for him.
Accompanied by quality live percussion, the insertion of “live” dance into the video background was… interesting. The “dance” was performed – or rather, conducted – by Amanda Phillips, using a large touch screen to control her on-screen representations. And I find this idea fascinating; in much the same way that light-synths absorb me (both to watch and also to create), the ability to create tangible engagement from within a virtual space is a premise I love chasing.
It’s just a pity that, whilst the pre-recorded dance bits were interesting, the virtual dance pieces felt a little… dull. It was alright, competently choreographed, just… not exciting.
But you know what? That’s OK – this is a new medium, and Felicity Arts are just starting to feel out this enormous performance space. Sure, there’s the odd technical issue to sort out – there was the occasional stutter in the assembled projection – but I’ll be following the evolution of this idea carefully… there’s just so much potential there.