Dana Bell’s “Poses for Communication” and Doron Sadja’s “Color Field Immersion” in Mixology 2015
Mixology 2015 presents a selection of artists working in these grey areas: choreographer Dana Bell’s live dancers mirrored in video projections and vice versa, Doron Sadja and his immersive color and light explorations, the YAMS collective traversing multitudes of mediums through the voices of 38 artists, Uumans dance/video/POV explorations, and Mark Fell’s monolithic deconstruction of “dance” music and live performance at Roulette.
In the annals of electronic music performance – movement, lighting, and video have been often given supporting roles. Occasionally the gimmick, the visual representation of a new bit of technology or newly imagined way to interface with a computer, even merely a side effect of the music being created. Yet as we further approach the total ubiquity of personal technologies, artists are finding new spaces to experiment with these mediums, where the interaction between them is often where the substance lies.
Dana Bell’s Poses for Communication playfully explores the physical language of performed communication. Two dancers perform a duet which examines the formalist elements of ritualized movement– specifically contrasting the poses associated with ballet and yoga (respectively), in doing so juxtaposing their divergent origins and guiding intentions. The origins of ballet as an etiquette based system in Renaissance European Courts as spectacle and interactive communion is in deliberately mismatched dialogue with yogic asanas which, while historically conceived as channels to interior connection, now have outer meaning– they are the contemporary silhouettes of centeredness, a balanced life, the sacred. Behind dancers Meg Clixby and Helen Schreiner is projected video, in which the poses become abstracted as geometry, and the dancers themselves become semaphores, flattened as an apparatus for visual signaling. Poses for Communication video stills are also on view for this performance in Roulette’s entryway.
Whereas the dancers appear in classic modern dance costume and wigs to reinforce a stock anonymity, the style of the video draws from the time when yoga was introduced to the West, its structure and coloration hearkening to psychedelic imagery. Richard Hoffman collaborates with Bell on the score for the piece, which translates as an art rock exploration of Eastern music, filtered through the trite, foreboding conventions of dramatic TV soundtracks. The dramatic elements of the score serve as a point of humor in opposition to the control and blankness of the movement, an apparatus highlighting the absurdity of cultural flattening and appropriation within contemporary culture.
Doron Sadja presents his work Color Field Immersion. Based loosely on Ganzfeld experiments (a technique used in parapsychology in the 1970s as a way of invoking telepathy), Color Field Immersion involves masking the audience with semi-transparent blindfolds onto which light projections are mapped. Similar to sensory deprivation, Color Field Immersion provides perceptual deprivation, replacing the entirety of each audience member’s visual field with washes of color, line, and movement – often inducing hallucinations as the brain seeks to replace lost stimuli. Flipping the traditional performer-audience relationship, the internalized experience becomes the location of the performance. Combined with rich, textural soundscapes, Color Field Immersion creates a deeply immersive perceptual architecture of sound and vision.
Doron Sadja is an American artist, composer, and curator whose work explores modes of perception and the experience of sound, light, and space. Working primarily with multichannel spatialized sound – combining pristine electronics with lush romantic synthesizers, extreme frequencies, dense noise, and computer-enhanced acoustic instruments, Sadja creates post-human, hyper-emotive sonic architecture. Although each of Sadja’s works are striking in their singular and focused approach, his output is diverse: spanning everything from immersive multichannel sound pieces to sexually provacative performance / installation works, and stroboscopic smoke, mirror, laser, and projection shows. Doron has published music on 12k, ATAK, and Shinkoyo records, and has performed/exhibited at PS1 MoMa, Miami MOCA, D’amelio Terras Gallery, Cleveland Museum of Art, Issue Project Room, and Roulette amongst others. Sadja co-founded Shinkoyo Records and the West Nile performing arts venue in Brooklyn (RIP), and has curated various new music/sound festivals around NYC, including the multichannel SOUNDCORRIDORS Festival, Easy Not Easy, John Cage Musicircus, and more.