Zar Breathes the Air Around You

Dancer and Motion Tracking

2018 Auckland, New Zealand

"I dreamed of the same thing countless times over. Waves that were too large to exist would threaten me at cliff-sides, they were always right on the verge of swallowing me whole. My goal was to run as far and fast as I could, but the waves would build, perpetually, never striking nor receding, but just edging on collapse."

Zar was the second work created using the VR motion tracking system. With this piece I wanted to shift the focus away from the technical aspects and try focusing on the artistic possibilities. While no real texts exists to explain the work, a good description of what the piece is about comes from conceptual notes written at the time. The video of the performance alongside these notes are a good summary of the themes being explored.

Concept notes written at an early stage of the project:

Audio

The audio content embodies a sense of restless and pent up energy. There is an incessant drive but with no clear direction. The rhythms are heavy and tiresome, and they carry with them a grinding weight.

Overlaid onto these rhythms is the wild and tumultuous sound of ocean waves. The addition of this referential material brings the concept of water, and all of its metaphorical associations, into the listening space.

The use of this highly referential material highlights several questions: does the ocean spring from the woman on stage, or is she merely caught up in its tide? Is she able to fight the current or is she fueling it with her own energy?

The symbol of water and the female spirit is written in many variations. Just like the female body, water can be fragile and delicate, nurturing and soothing, and in other moments – powerful, destructive and unforgiving.

As I develop this work, I am not yet sure of what the answer to those questions are. Perhaps they can only be answered by the dancer? Perhaps they need to be resolved by the audience?

Imagery

Undertow, swell, bathing, drowning, wild, chaotic, unrelenting
Emotion, stream, isolation, release, cathartic, soothing, strength, resilience, healing

Structure

This work will include linear composed audio stems (pre-written), overlaid with live-performance audio “gestures”. The third element will be a level of interaction between the performer and the enclosed sound world where she will have a varying degree of impact on the sound field through audio effects.

First performance at 'Karlheinz Company: 100 Years Suffrage Concert'