Two offerings by Boston Cyberarts over the weekend opted for divergent ways of gaining enlightenment. Lostwax Multimedia Dance suggested that insight can arise from a deluge of enchanting stimuli. Nell Breyer explored a small packet of infinitely varied materials.
BLINKING The Lostwax dancers cavorted in an environment of projections.
Breyer's seemingly untitled A Dancein Sol LeWitt's"Bars of Color Within Squares (MIT)" invited the audience to gaze down at the floor of the university's Green Center atrium, inlaid with 15 large, geometric designs. Clad in red, blue, orange, and green to match, the 12 performers walked, ran, stood, and reclined, relating to LeWitt's jigsaw shapes by angling their bodies along them or lying flat and spreading out to touch as many of them as they could. In their stillness they seemed to be absorbing the art's vibrations.
Atriums make me nervous. I have a low tolerance for peering 50 feet straight down with only a waist-high panel of glass between me and dry land. From what I could tell, LeWitt's minimalist art served as a dramatic setting for a self-consciously contemplative but old-fashioned piece. Dancers started outlining the architecture and communing with the landscape 40 years ago. I couldn't see what Breyer added to decades of awareness experiments.
At BU Dance Theater the Providence-based Lostwax Multimedia Dance showed Blinking, a piece that started out with more images per minute than Breyer supplied in an hour. But gradually the texture thinned out, and the whole piece acquired the irrational coherence of a dream.
Collaborators Jamie Jewett (choreographer-director), R.Luke DuBois (composer-visual artist), and Jen Rock (lighting designer) used a kitchen sinkful of devices to animate the stage: as the audience entered, we saw a film of people strolling at different speeds along a boardwalk, a calm ocean in the background. But as soon as the house lights went out, the media blitz began. First there was a busily edited film of children playing in a studio or a gallery, with a woman in closeup keeping an eye on them. Two dancers (Katherine Moncebaiz and Angie Hartley) flung themselves into jumps and crouchy floorwork. Their moves, perhaps based on the antics of the children in the film, got chopped up by blackouts and deliberate frozen poses.
Then they were cavorting in an environment of projections — negative images, spidery lines radiating out from parts of bodies, blinking eyes on the floor, a big floating disc that glowed. The women were joined by three other dancers, and, against a sky filled with star maps, they alternated bursts of jumping and standing. I felt there was a pattern in what they were doing — a lineup or an order, if not a game.
The first two dancers left, and the trio (Michelle Struckholz with Kim Johnson and Amanda DelPrete) did more complicated versions of the earlier jumping, flailing, tumbling moves. They walked in intersecting grid patterns without colliding; they wheeled out into space but they kept returning to lineups and collaborative lifts. The screen was exploding in psychedelic curves and bull's-eyes.