Mysterious meetings

Teri Hoskin: Jude Walton, paralla x

When I dance, I finally have a body to avoid.
Cristina Caprioli

Imagine a bridge, its centre collapsed, swallowed by the river below, and with it the steam train the structure couldn’t hold and the passengers the train failed to protect and deliver. What remains from disappearance, or rather from the appearance of the accident, the catastrophe?

paralla x presents a series of points: marks that make a map. As Deleuze & Guattari suggest, you can enter and exit the map at any place. I sat, and walked, in the space for perhaps 90 minutes and enjoyed the necessary ‘slow time’ of this series of points or intensities. Most of this time I listened to the audio (the ghostly appearance of software artifacts, or a short time made longer) that accompanied panorama a, whilst watching the iterations of birds, the water, the fragments of a bridge (over the River Tay in Scotland). There are tones of the small and the inconsequential, and also of the devastating effects of catastrophe that makes me wonder about the expectations and failures of technology. There is a strength to this ‘work’ of play that lightens the weight of absence and mourning. It seeks neither to solve anything nor to problematise technology, rather to open up the spacings or the intervals within which things take place.

Perhaps the thing architecture and dance have most in common is a necessary primary concern with gravity. Jude Walton worked with dancers and a biomechanist over a period of 4 months, using a range of equipment designed to measure the moving body. The use of augmented video goggles blurred the distinctions easily made between perceptions of inside and outside bodies: the points where the actual and the virtual meet, intersect, and affect bodies and orientations. On a small monitor set back in an angled recess, trace 3 displays lo-hi-tech stick-figure tracings made by sensors placed on points of the body in movement.

Mark Michinton’s catalogue essay, “Dance, chance, dream, scream”, notes the changes to the perceptions of the body in space effected by technological innovations in the 19th century—trains, planes and cars. The shock of speed. Across from the loose pile of fallen poles lit from underneath trace 2, is panorama b. Triggered by movements nearby, a model train engine circles a barren space. Enclosed in a wire cage this could be the interminable state of emergency.

panoptic sphere is a large video wall projection of a dancer (Ros Warby) in a room. The camera records her movements from below the floor and repeats its capture at feet, at thigh, at chest, at head, from above. “[The] size of the image (gargantuan) overwhelms as our imagination tries to construct the whole” (Jude Walton, email). It wasn’t so much that I was overwhelmed by the size of the image—perhaps the now familiar scale of megaplex cinemas has something to do with that. Rather I was made curious about where the body of the dance, or performance, meets the body(s) of the viewer, the gallery space and the image.

Quotation from Cristina Caprioli, Immanent Choreographies: Deleuze And Neo-Aesthetics, Conference, New Tate Modern, September 2001

Jude Walton, paralla x, video and light works installation; panoptic sphere: Ros Warby: choreography, dancer; Jude Walton: camera, editing; panorama: Jude Walton: camera, editing; Nick Von-der-Borche: train table design and construction; Tony Bishop: wire frame tunnel; Jason Keats: model; Experimental Art Foundation, Adelaide, May 2-June 8

RealTime issue #50 Aug-Sept 2002 pg. 33

© Teri Hoskin; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

1 August 2002