Dazzling display of maths and lights

THE dazzling display of lights in a glass cube stole the show in Hakanai, a recent offering at the 2017 George Town Festival in Penang.

They rained, burst into shapes, weaved in geometric designs, and in various colours and hues to boot. There was a sole performer, Akiko Kajihara, in the centre of the cube, whose movements sent the lights a-tizzy or calm and gentle.

As the light-filled images and performer danced together, the music swelled and ebbed.

The show by Claire Bardainne and Adrien Mondot, held at a bare-knuckled space called Loft 29, off Lebuh Church, was eye-catching.

The production notes state that proximity sensors responded to the performer’s sudden movements. So, the projected lights “danced” to the performer’s rhythm.

At the end, the performer went still and walked out the cube. That’s when the audience members had their chance to get those lights a-going.

It was complex programming. I had the chance to see a version of such interactive motion-tracking at a dance conference in Jakarta, organised by Goethe Institut back in 2009.

At that session, Australian Gideon Obarzanek¬† of dance company Chunky Move showcased “Glow”. In that show, light projections reacted to a solo dancer’s moving body, all to house music.

It’s a mix of maths and visuals. Some people will find the outcome exciting, others may wonder where is the fire, for the lights took over the performance leaving little room for the imagination or some understanding of the entirety.

It seems that we mere mortals can only wonder at the possibilities of the digital age.


** Featured pic is a scene from Hakanai. Pic by Romain Etienne, courtesy of Georgetown Festival 2017

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