Charles Atlas | Rashaun Mitchell | Silas Riener
May 18 - 20, 2017
$25 • BUY NOW 8:00PM • Merrill Wright Mainstage
Thu – Sat | May 18 – 20 | 8pm
Sun | May 21 | 5pm
Dance enters a new dimension in a daring collaboration between two former Merce Cunningham dancers and an iconic filmmaker. New perceptions of bodies in motion emerge as Rashaun Mitchell's and Silas Riener’s powerfully physical and precise choreography is mixed and projected live by radical video artist Charles Atlas. Ways of seeing evolve in real-time as the camera tilts, shifts, expands, and contracts, allowing for shocking new perspectives of human movement in time and space.
Photo: Ray Felix/EMPAC
Tesseract is a work in two parts: Tesseract ▢ and Tesseract ◯. Part one (Tesseract ▢) is a stereoscopic 3D video — a six-chapter work of science fiction, filmed with a mobile camera rig (a Steadicam) that moves with the choreography. Each chapter combines a specific set, choreography, and camera motion to encompass pas de deux and ensemble pieces, choreographed by Mitchell and Riener. Atlas’ distinctive video manipulates the 3D footage to combine live dance with animation, producing otherworldly dimensions emanating beyond the stage.
Part two (Tesseract ◯) is a performance for multiple dancers and cameras — the footage of which Atlas manipulates in real-time and projects back onto the stage. Tesseract ◯ superimposes the space of dance with live cinematic production, rendering a choreographic analogue to the four-dimensional cube from which the piece takes its title.
Kristen Foote, David Botana, and Cori Kresge, during the 3D filming of Tesseract. Photo: Mick Bello/EMPAC
Since 2010 Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener have created dance in response to complex and active spatial environments, often merging elements of fantasy, absurdity, and quiet contemplation. Their work takes many forms; from site-specific installations, improvisational dances, traditional proscenium pieces, to highly crafted immersive experiences. Mitchell and Riener collaborate on projects which continually push at the unraveling boundaries of dance research, with a keen interest in the way abstraction and representation coincide in the body. Their work has been presented at MoMA PS1, The Chocolate Factory, New York Live Arts, Baryshnikov Arts Center, the Vail International Dance Festival, REDCAT, and ICA Boston, among others.
Charles Atlas is a pioneer in film and video, and has worked at the intersection of the moving image, visual art, and choreography for over four decades. Since his first collaborations with choreographer Merce Cunningham, Atlas has led the development of media-dance, or performance made directly for the camera. His work has come to define a vivid cinematic language for articulating dance on screen, using an active, mobile camera (versus a static one) to mediate the experience of movement in space. Atlas has consistently fostered collaborative relationships, working intimately with artists and performers such as Marina Abramović, Yvonne Rainer, Mika Tajima/New Humans, Antony and the Johnsons, and most notably Merce Cunningham, for whom he was in-house videographer from the early 1970s through 1983. Most recently Atlas' work has been included in the 57th Venice Biennale, on view from May 13-November 26, 2017.
Photo: Mick Bello/EMPAC
Tesseract is commissioned and supported through the OtB Performance Production Program.
Tesseract ▢ by Charles Atlas, Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener was commissioned and produced by EMPAC/ Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and co-commissioned by Triangle France.
Tesseract ◯ by Charles Atlas, Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener was co-commissioned by Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center EMPAC/ at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the Walker Art Center, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and On the Boards.
Tesseract was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Tesseract was developed, in part, through residencies at EMPAC/ Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, The Watermill Center, and the Walker Art Center.
Top photo: Mick Bello/EMPAC