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movement in the dark

Text by Irina Raskin

Same same, but different. With his project “Movement in the Dark” Kingsley A. Odiaka explores how movement changes throughout different influences and transitions into other media. The dancer proceeded into a dark room and asked non professional dancers to join him. There they constantly repeated a sequence of movement that Kingsley had once developed for another piece. This was again either accompanied by a stroboscopic lamp and filmed by a video camera or shot by flashlight photo camera. As a result of this project Kingsley would like to play the video and simultaneously display the pictures.

The light always affects your orientation and adds a different dimension to the movement, so Kingsley explained. It mainly influences the attention towards the space. Dancing in the darkness meant for him dancing less carefully within the space.

Watching the video, the spectator never gets to see the sequence of movement as a whole. The pattern becomes fragmented, whereby it is due to the rhythm of the stroboscope which segments of the pattern become visible. The dynamic of the light makes it impossible to complete the missing movement between the positions through imagination. It flashes not fast enough and the sequence is too various in order to generate a flip-book effect, revealing the body movement frame-by-frame. Rather, it disturbs the accountability of the movement’s physicality, evades finding a specific logic within it and demands more time to assimilate what is happening. The pattern of the light and the pattern of the body movement overlap, creating a new dance. The video emphasises the unpredictability of movement itself.

In comparison to that, the movement within the photography is freezed. It shows the different positions of the sequence, capturing them as postures. One can say that the photos reveal certain points of a line, and as they enable a contemplative looking, you can fantasize about the ways of the body getting from one point to the other. Here the dance happens in the imagination of the spectator.

According to Kingsely the modification of the performance into different visual media should help to analyze movement itself, not the specific sequence of the movement. He would like to continue to experiment on the relation of movement and light, and also working with non-professional dancers. Maybe this will lead to a study how the embodiment changes the patterns of a sequence of movement?