Last night was the premiere of Dissolve — a dance piece by Elizabeth Chitty and the Niagara Dance Company, and my first time collaborating with a choreographer. The artist’s notes:
Our time is one of rapid change and dissolving boundaries. Dissolve affects the boundary between you, the audience, and the performers by requiring engagement through a communications technology of our lives – cell phones. Call the number below and you will be asked to choose one of four thread – Body as World, Body within Borders, Body of Tender Minds or Body of Two minds – then to choose a performer. These threads express content that is spiritual, political, psychological or biological, and are reflected in the choreographic and video imagery. The video is the only part of the work to play in fixed order.
Working with Elizabeth, I designed and implemented the phone system which facilitates the audience interaction: receiving calls from the audience, sending requests to the performers, and keeping track of performers’ state.
As it was my first time working on a phone system for use in live performance, I decided to try using Twilio, hoping that it would offer better capacity and reliability than platforms I’ve used for other projects. I’ve been totally impressed — text messages are delivered very quickly and reliably, and it handled the call spike at last night’s performance very well.
It was exciting and impressive (even for me!) to see the dancers (and cellist) integrate the technology so fluidly into their performance. There will be two more performances of Dissolve this weekend; part of Merge.
Elizabeth’s blog post about Dissolve.
A short article about Dissolve appeared in yesterday’s St. Catharines Standard: Please turn on your cellphones.