Internet killed the Video Star: An Evening at Monkey Town

On April 24th Movement Research presented “Internet Killed the Video Star”, a night of dance video work created by performers, choreographers, and visual artists was as part of their Spring Roll Call festival at Monkey Town in Williamsburg.  All the works shown were originally submitted via internet, and the program was designed to support artistic considerations of resolution, degradation and quality within kinetic film arts. Since the Monkey Room has centrally-seated DJs/VJs who project videos on all four floor-to-ceiling screens, it offers an intense viewing experience in a cozy atmosphere. Watching the program on four big screens I was uncertain regarding the intended format of each film, and I quickly became aware of the effects of viewing different works on a small screen versus a large screen.

Some films seemed more powerful being shown on the four large screens at Monkey Town, while the film “MM2” by Rebecca Gaffney felt overwhelming to view due to the intense strobe lights used in the film.  Later in viewing this on a smaller singular screen, it was more forgiving on the eyes, and kept me “pulled in” and interested (rather than making me want to close my eyes to ward off a pounding head ache as it did at Monkey Town).

I found Ben Pranger’s “Erased Dance” film intriguing during the screening, as it was the only silent film presented.  The absence of music seemed to soften the movements of the dancer, and the full wide shot of the dancer’s body, that was continually being erased, was very effective, especially on the floor-to-ceiling screens at the MonkeyTown.  This was a case where I found the work to be much more powerful on the large screen, rather than the small computer screen.

The remaining films presented by Movement Research seemed to work on either a computer screen or as a large projection.  Gina T’ai’s “Lumiere D’Ampoule” had a wonderful use of still images of the dancer with fabulous lighting effects.  Her work is beautiful, and it is easy to see why she was chosen as winner of the Dance for Camera 2007 student film award.

Our own Anna Brady Nuse (Pentacle’s director of Movement Media) showed “Funf ‘n’ Twist”, a fun and lighthearted look at dance on prom night.  Another delightful piece was Alex Cassal & Alice Ripoll’s “Journey to the Navel of the World”, in which action figures traveled across landscapes of human bodies.  Comedy was central in both of these pieces, which made them especially enjoyable and memorable.

You can view all of the films and videos in their “natural” environment online at Movement Research’s festival blog:

by Dawn Paap and Anna Brady Nuse

This entry was posted in artistic process, artists, education/learning, Fünf n Twist, screenings/events, theory/criticism. Bookmark the permalink.

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