reflets de lumière

Mortal Engine

Posted in Performing Arts by B on May 15, 2010

Mortal Engine performer Harriet Ritchie, photographed by Andrew Curtis

Mortal Engine performer Charmene Yap, photographed by Andrew Curtis

Mortal Engine performer Charmene Yap, photographed by Andrew Curtis

Mortal Engine performer Charmene Yap, photographed by Andrew Curtis

Mortal Engine performer Antony Hamilton, photographed by Andrew Curtis

Mortal Engine performer Lee Serle, photographed by Andrew Curtis

A lone body is curled up, motionless on stage, bathed in soft white light. A throbbing mound of shadowy flesh slowly enters from the left. The sinister tangle of hands and legs jerk forward, the dark pulsating mass of flesh crawling ever closer the lone white body. They connect in a moment of unison, then the white body propels itself away. Again, and again, they connect and disconnect.

Mortal Engine creates and examines interconnections and relationships between movement, sound and light. Creative Director Gideon Obarzanek balances the agile movement of the dancers together with sound-responsive light projections, concocting a metamorphic synthesis of these three elements in a state continual change and renewal.

“Conflicts between the self and shadowy other – the other within as well as the other as the other. Duets are seen as both couples and as singular selves struggling to escape inner darkness – mortality, sexuality, desire.

Soft, expressive sounds are dangerously tensioned between abrasive noise disturbances in Ben Frost’s music. At times delicate beauty can emerge from intense sonic harshness while seductive tones threaten to disintegrate into dark clouds of rumbling distortion

Robin Fox’s laser and video images have a brutal and direct relationship to the sound they illustrate and when experienced exclusively, their connection with dance is not immediately apparent. When fed information of the dancers’ movements however, they become a powerful extension to the performers’ bodies and their own capacity for explosive brute force or controlled subtlety.

Created by a team of individual artists, the aesthetic/kinetic world of Mortal Engine is pulled together through the computer engineering of Frieder Weiss. As an engineer he often claims that he has no aesthetic position on the productions he is involved with, however his unique software distinguishes all his work in a very powerful way. Frieder’s interactive systems make it possible for instruments and bodies that generate light, video, sound and movement to all share a common language and respond to each other in real time. Mortal Engine has no pre-rendered video, light or laser images. Similarly the music mix is open allowing various sounds to be completely generated from movement data. In addition, pre-composed phrases are triggered by the dancers’ motion or by the operator in relation to where the performers are in any given sequence. This essentially means that there are no fixed timelines and the production flexes according to the rhythm of the performers. While the scenes are always in the same order, the work is truly live every night, not completely predictable and ever changing.”


Mortal Engine

Chunky Move

Sydney Theatre


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