UbuWeb Film

Dance with Camera

Flora Wiegmann - Adaptive Lines (2007)
Oliver Herring - Nathan (2007)
Fatboy Slim - Weapon of Choice (2001)
William Forsythe - Solo (1997)
Babette Mangolte - Watermotor (1978)
Hilary Harris - Nine Variations on a Dance Theme (1966)
Yvonne Rainer - Hand Movie (1966)
Maya Deren - A Study in Choreography for Camera (1945)
The Lumière Brothers - Danse Serpentine (1896)

Eleanor Antin, Charles Atlas, Natalie Bookchin, James Byrne and Victoria Marks, Ann Carlson and Mary Ellen Strom, Shirley Clarke, Bruce Conner, Thierry de Mey, Tacita Dean, Maya Deren, Ed Emshwiller, William Forsythe, Amy Greenfield, Hilary Harris, Oliver Herring, Luis Jacob, Mike Kelley, Joachim Koester, Elad Lassry, Sharon Lockhart, Babette Mangolte, Norman McLaren, Frank Moore and Jim Self, Bruce Nauman, Kelly Nipper, Sidney Peterson and Hy Hirsh, Yvonne Rainer, robbinschilds + A.L. Steiner, Uri Tzaig, Flora Wiegmann, and Christopher Williams.

In the 1937 musical film Shall We Dance, Fred Astaire's character falls in love with a flip book, or rather, the woman depicted on its pages: a popular dancer played by Ginger Rogers. "That's grace, that's rhythm," he swoons over the photographs. The camera, it almost need not be stated, captures things that move. Dance with Camera features art works in film, video, and photography that exemplify the ways dance has compelled artists to record bodies moving in space and time. The exhibition begins with films from the 1960s, a period when associations between dancers, filmmakers, musicians and visual artists flourished at Judson Dance Theater in downtown New York. The interdisciplinary practices that emerged at Judson, and beyond, were an extension of the collaborative work of composer John Cage and choreographer Merce Cunningham, both of whom made use of chance procedures. This "anything goes" methodology demolished creative traditions and hierarchies, moves that influenced the way the works on view use an imagery of dance that threads through Hollywood musicals, avant-garde cinema, postmodern dance and MTV.

Dance with Camera includes works in which dance is a subject, or mode, used to explore broader themes of collaboration, narrative, structure, metaphor and abstraction. These works propose choreography for the camera lens: movement is designed for the area prescribed by the camera's frame; the ephemerality of live performance is fixed in time. The camera also allows close-ups that bring us in proximity to the dance, or in some cases, performs as a partner in unusual pas de deux. Photographic series freeze time while also expanding the notion of dance as a time-based medium. Editing techniques compress time and space, conjure dances impossible in real time, and even transform relatively static performers into dancers. Finally, the camera is not merely a recording device, but stage and audience simultaneously.

-- Jenelle Porter, Curator