The brochure describes this exhibition as a full colour, stereoscopic, dance-screen installation but believe me, that's not even the half of it.    Think of it more as a shopping basket full of dance choreography, 3D spectacles, eight wall length video screens, the ladies toilets and there you have it, one of the latest exhibitions to grace the Walsall Art Gallery.  The gallery alone is wonderful, it's as if it has just landed out of nowhere, a modern architectural beauty and coupled with an exhibition such as this, you can tell this Art Gallery is only going to progress further with more innovative works from visual artists, painters and sculptors alike.

Liz Aggiss and Billy Cowie choreographed the exhibition, which focuses in representing the movement of one individual being reproduces by other character and creating something not unlike a slow music video.  However, it's not that simple at all, the artists decided to present the movement in a sort of stop motion using stereoscopic cameras producing two almost identical images that when looked at with the right pair of spectacles turned into a 3D performance.  Liz Aggiss is a performer/choreographer/film maker and Professor of Visual
Performance at the University of Brighton and Billy Cowie is a choreographer, director, composer and a Principal Research Fellow in the School of Art at the University of Brighton.  They have been collaborating for 25 years making over twenty live performance pieces for their company Divas and have toured Europe

Q; Why exactly did you chose to produce such an exhibition in this particular format as well as based within and around the Walsall Art Gallery?
A; The architecture of the New Art Gallery is very striking and provided a
perfect 'set', the lines are clean and uncluttered, the space has an aural
sensitivity as well which could be amplified within the accompanying sounds cape. The idea of locating this piece as a site sensitive screen dance installation provides a fresh way for an audience to not only view the work but also see the gallery as site. The piece itself becomes less of a 'home' for the installation more a fluid space for convergence, it moves the audience more towards a space for engagement, which has parallels with live performance aesthetics. The audience, during their visit to the gallery can enter these 'real' spaces within 'real' time in the new art gallery: ladies toilets, gallery room, benches outside, restaurant, and are consequently reminded of a virtual presence and performance time that has been explored within them. The result is that the audience is more of an active participant, questioning space and choices that have been made to complete the work. Because the piece is composed of thousands of tiny snapshots, the audience is encouraged to be visually and aurally sensitive to the space, which they occupy. The use of digital media again blurs the boundaries between the still and moving body and opens up the possibilities of mediating one discreet practice though another and allows a re-visioning of what can be, and is considered screen dance. Although the work obviously has a special resonance being shown at the New Art Gallery, we are confident that it will retain its impact in different ways when shown in other galleries.

Q; Movement is essentially a key concept within the work; would you say the movement in each piece represents a sort of conflict, or relationship or both?
A; The constant figure (Liz Aggiss) that appears in all four films is continuously plagiarised. Wherever she goes within her real and virtual site she has no respite. You could well ask, is this asking a broader question about individuality, surveillance, conflicts arising from sharing space, creative license and copyright?

The choice of which film to place by which film was considered once all four were finalised, and the final decision lay with the visual and aural components. The fact that the material is looped means that the same relationships across all four-film sites never appear twice. Thus at times conflict is evident and that depends on the audience remaining with the images longer than the fleeting attention given to much
visual art film installation.

Another conflict within our work is in the relationship between 'normal' so-called pedestrian movements and more structured choreographic vocabularies. In Doppelganger, due to the photographing of each instant separately, even the most pedestrian movements had to be minutely choreographed, thus allowing us to explore in detail the grey area of the boundaries between the two types of movement.

Q; Why did you choice stereoscopic over just filming?
A; Our previous work 'Men in the Wall' which ran at the New Art Gallery last year was also 3D four screen dance installation and used red and green anaglyptic glasses. Doppelganger was an opportunity to further experiment with the format but this time using paired images with special prismatic glasses, which allowed a full colour image and a much greater sense of depth. The paired images also were in keeping with the Doppelganger concept thus allowing the audience to view the work either stereoscopically or not, further compounding an active audience response. As with 'Men in the Wall' we are interested in the 'rounded' body and the way choreography is affected by the focus given to the third dimension.

The exhibition will continue until 23rd April 2006 at the New Art Gallery Walsall.

Aggiss and Cowie's book Anarchic Dance published by Routledge, Taylor and Francis is now available, comprising of a book and three hour DVD-Rom, and is a visual and textual record of their live and screen dance work.
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