PFS Forum Post

PFS Noon Forum – Prof. Kriss Ravetto-Biagioli: “The Ghosts of Dance: Interacting with Digital Embodiment”
Monday, January 14, 2019, 12 PM

Kriss Ravetto-Biagioli is a film and media scholar, Professor of Cinema and Digital Media and Professor of Science and Technology Studies at UC Davis. She wrote about dance and digital media for an announcement of her presentation, “A great amount of faith has been put in digital media’s ability to record, document, and archive live events, but more importantly to be able to retrieve them, and thus, bring them back to life, by reanimating them. These reanimated images do not easily lend themselves to evaluation. They also have the potential to spin out of control, doubling and redoubling figures, spaces, and our very perception of time. It is in this act of doubling, reanimating that spectral forms emerge to question our understanding of presence, our very relation to those archives that preserve our image in time.”

During the presentation, Professor Ravetto-Biagioli analyzed Matthias Sperling’s Loop Atlas (2017). We saw a video of the performance which was presented in a gallery. Matthias Sperling wore a white long-sleeves T-shirt, black trousers, sneakers, and sunglasses. Thus he created a mysterious male character. Sunglasses also helped him to distance from the audience, to be able to focus on his meditative movement. The necessity for building ‘the fourth wall’ could be explained by the dancer’s significant stage experience since Matthias Sperling used to dance with Wayne McGregor among others before pursuing his own choreographic work. Matthias moved with a slow tempo and repeated one circular movement multiple times before a slight shift occurred then the slightly changed movement recurred, and so on. The dancer made recordings of himself dancing and periodically released the record so we could see the past movements on projection and the current movement in live simultaneously. Matthias gradually moved through space along with doing a shift in the movement itself thus each time when a new video was released, the number of Matthias’ ghosts was visibly augmented. For me, the piece is about our everyday routine and how past events become smaller in our memory with time unless they disappear as the virtual ghosts of Matthias Sperling on the projection with each iteration were decreasing in size and visibility.

Concluding the presentation, Professor Ravetto-Biagioli invited to attend the conference on Dance and Computational Media which will take place at CDM department on February 21-22.