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Brighton Festival: Apparition review at Brighton Corn Exchange

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Apparition experiments with real and virtual bodies. A piece for two dancers, it uses interactive technologies to synchronise physical movement with the projection of digital images behind the performers. Sometimes the performers are in control, sometimes their bodies seem engulfed or dispersed into a million fragments.

Artistic director Klaus Obermaier achieves some extraordinary effects. At times the dancers disappear into the images, caged by barcoded lines, merging with the pixellated background or even with each other to form weird new non-human shapes. They become a series of moving geometries: evanescent and decorporealised.

When Robert Tannion and Desiree Kongerod are not absorbed into the virtual, they dance odd, spiky duets or solos but their movements reject narrative and expressiveness. Indeed, the piece as a whole is more concerned with creating ravishing images than with ideas: it evokes thoughts about a futuristic, post-human world, but doesn’t link them into themes or motifs.

Some of the digitised background images look like they come from the 1980s, human faces composed of a thousand tiny pixels, but the historical evolution of the virtual is not Obermaier’s concern. Oddly, too, the match between the dancers’ movements and the virtual images is sometimes so neat that it looks pre-set rather than kinetically responsive. The piece can therefore feel rather automatic at times.

But it remains compelling because of the visual trompe l’oeil it creates while bodies literally dissolve before your eyes, flatten into two dimensional patterns, or becomes containers for zigzagging molecules.

Production Information

Brighton Corn Exchange, May 17-18

Director
Klaus Obermaier
Choreography
Robert Tannion, Desiree Kongerod
Producer
Brighton Festival
Cast
Robert Tannion, Desiree Kongerod
Running time
1hr

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