Dance for the camera
By Myron My
These days, with cameras on all our mobile devices, there does not seem to be a single aspect of our lives that is not documented. In Mechanical Eye, a new contemporary dance piece choreographed by Gregory Lorenzutti, the ideas of constant performance and the creation of identity through photography are dramatically explored.
The five dancers – Harrison Hall, Maud Léger, Sarah Fiddaman, Ashley Marie Mclellan and Lorenzutti himself – had already begun dancing as we entered the room, which made you question when we ever stop performing. Where is the line between performance and being authentic? The added presence of a polaroid camera along the back wall of the space, not only reminded me of this message throughout, but also allowed the notion of the fleetingness of moments in life to loom large.
With the dancers dressed in light, loose fitting clothing in various shades of white, and with their lithe movements in the clean, empty mezzanine at Chapel Off Chapel, there was a profound sense of ethereality to Mechanical Eye.
Despite all five dancers being incredibly in tune with their bodies and the movements, Mclellan was a standout, as she seemed to be completely enveloped by the work, almost as if the choreography had taken her over. Similarly, Fiddaman and Léger showed great finesse in their slow motion pair-work.
The notion of lives being controlled by our capturing every moment on film, and to an extent, the exposure on social media, were perfectly encapsulated during the final moments of the piece. The dancers began running around in circles, clutching at each other, twisting and turning as they gradually sped up and then broke apart to a simple but highly effective and affective close.
Lorenzutti’s Mechanical Eye is a beautiful piece of contemporary work that looks at identity constructed through photography and dance, and ponders the ramifications of what it means to visually document our every moment and action.
Mechanical Eye was performed at Chapel Off Chapel as part of the 2014 Melbourne Fringe Festival.