and choreographed by Liz Aggiss and Billy Cowie, Men in the Wall is
a four-screen 3-dimensional stereoscopic screen dance installation, commissioned
Council Capture 3 that
re-defines dance screen practice. Special stereoscopic glasses are provided
to watch this 3D world of four men, whose shared framed lives reveal a
public quartet of private differences. The piece runs on a continuous 25-minute
Cast : Jeddi Bassan, Sebastian Gonzalez, Thomas Kampe,
Scott Smith. Text Billy Cowie. Costume Holly Murray.
The piece can also be presented in a
non-projected version using four computer monitors.
This is an Arts Council Capture 3 Award and received
support from The Centre for Research and Development (Arts and Architecture)
Premiere 23rd February 2004 I.C.A.
Men in the Wall national and international touring 2004/5
includes: I.C.A. London, National Review Glasgow, Brighton Festival,
Trinity Square Gallery
Toronto, New Art Gallery Walsall, Leamington Pump Rooms, Worcester City
Art Gallery, Corn Exchange Newbury, IMZ International Screen Dance Festival.
'For reasons that are impossible to understand,
we don't expect much fun out of art. Big sensations we've got aplenty.
There's no end of sexual sizzle, heavy-duty irony or crazed rants. But while
outpourings may be therapeutic for the artists, they don't allow the
unsuspecting viewer to lighten up a bit.
Yet with a bit of sleuthing you can some across something that's cheeky,
satiric, or enlightening — like seeing the Marx Brothers for the
first time. Item one: "Men In The Wall," by Liz Aggiss and
Bill Cowie, at Trinity Square Video, 401 Richmond St. W, Suite 376, to
To catalogue everything involved with this 3-D video installation might
make it sound more daunting than a Meryl Streep acting job. We're talking
about four matched projections repeated daily on a 25-minute video loop
of four men — Jeddi Bassan, Scot Smith, Sebastian Gonzalez and Thomas
Kampe — each in a cramped, box-like space, interacting with one
another verbally, via comedy shtick or gravity-defying movement. There's
big snoring scene repeated across the four screens.
But before visions of Kafka or, worse, a Don Mills condo, leap into the
imagination, let me assure everyone that "Men In The Wall," is
successful on every front — dance, video, comedy, travel, architecture
and human interest. And, yes, you do get to wear 3-D glasses.
The effortlessness can be attributed to the some 20 years that Aggiss — a
British dancer trained in the United States and with Hilde Holger in London — and
Cowie, a remarkable composer/writer, have collaborated, melding video,
dance and music together under the performance rubric, "Divas."
But credentials don't explain results. "Men In The Wall" enormously
expands video's horizon. As each guy occupies his own space — now
dancing, now playing the guitar while singing lieder — each acts
as human semaphore, sending human-shaped signals.
It's as tightly constructed as a classic American sitcom, and funnier
Peter Goddard Toronto Star
'The two installations were delighful. 3D glasses
enhance Liz Aggiss and Billy Cowie’s four screen stereoscopic Men in the
Wall. Situated against various backdrops (day, night, urban, coastal,
etc) each male – a
mixed batch of builds and temperaments and nationalities – dwells
in his own walled square. They talk, sing, play music and move in a
fashion stamped with the Aggiss/Cowie signature of quirky-humoured
poetry and askew
Donald Hutera Dance Europe
‘Men in the Wall is perhaps the most radical, with 3-D figures that appear
to detach themsleves from the screen and inhabit the same space as
Guardian Guide Judith Mackrell
'Aggiss and Cowie’s impression on the dance film excellence
and innovation cannot be overestimated’
Ballet Tanz : Tanzfilm Autumn 2005 Lizzie le Quesne
References for Men in the Wall
Aggiss, L. Cowie,B. Bramley, I. (2006) Anarchic Dance Routledge
Hutera, D. (April 2004) Capture 3 ICA London Dance Europe
Goddard, P. (18/11/ 2004) Local Art not without a dash of Whimsy Toronto
Le Quesne, L. (Autumn 2005) Liz Aggiss 3D Queen of Brighton Das Jahrbuch
Mackrell, J. (11-17/12/04) Guardian Guide
setup projected version
setup non-projected version
publicity photograph 1.6mb
movie clip form NRLA tigers
movie clip form NRLA saxsolo
movie clip form NRLA snoring
movie clip form NRLA es ist
Men in the Wall can be seen on the
DVDROM included within the book 'Anarchic Dance' by Liz Aggiss and Billy
Cowie, with Ian Bramley. Routledge