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Seven Enigmas, 1997

Power Center for the Performing Arts

Performance collaboration and multi-media stage set

Performed by Dance Gallery/Peter Sparling & Co at the Power Center for the Performing Arts during the 1997 Ann Arbor Summer Festival. Restaged September 13, 1997

Seven Enigmas was a multi-media collaborative performance work celebrating the capacity of the human spirit to imaginatively explore the universe outside and within, co-created with dancer and choreographer Peter Sparling.  Inspired by the spatial movement and gestural power of Sparling's dance miniatures, I mapped out a multimedia sculptural installation of objects, film and video projections, and surfaces in motion with human bodies, which was realized collaboratively with a team of artists, scientists, dancers, and musicians.

 

Woven throughout the work are images from outer space, developed in collaboration with John Clarke, a planetary scientist studying the atmosphere of Jupiter using the Hubble Space Telescope.  For additional elements of my design I turned to the biostatistician Fred Bookstein, who adapted his morphometric brain-mapping program to interpret Sparling’s dance movements as morphing grid patterns that appear on giant projection screens behind the dancers. The metaphoric overlay of spatial exploration and brain mapping suggests parallels between the complex turnings of the human mind and the intergalactic universe that is the object of our fascination.