Can you imagine wearing your web presence on your flesh? Having Facebook photographs and Google searches imprinted on you for all to see? What if your body was confronted by the permanence of your online data?
Choreographer Katie Dale-Everett uses the theme of digital identity in her latest work – Digital Tattoo. It is an intimate dance and film projection piece – the ideal media combination for exploring our physical and virtual selves. Anyone who has any sort of web presence or social media profile should see this.
If you are new to contemporary dance, this would be a great place to start. The familiarity of the digital influences in the movement and music are reassuring and engaging. There is a delightful use of typing, swiping and touchscreen-zooming motions in the choreography, and the tones and notification notes used in the music are auditory digital signifiers as well as an ambient, yet dynamic soundtrack for the piece.
Composed by Tom Sayers (whose other work notably includes sound design for Slumdog Millionaire and music editing for the chillingly beautiful Les Revenants/The Returned), the opening music could actually be my ideal blogging soundtrack.
There were lots of things I loved about this performance – the projection of a relationship which created a narrative in my mind, glimpses of a wild night out, the use of data and the right to be forgotten, the scrutiny of a reflection where the audience is the mirror and the closeness of the performers. The proximity of the dancers to the audience gave it a real intimacy, at times it felt quietly uncomfortable, verging on voyeuristic yet still as compelling as scrolling through photos of your ex’s new love interest on Facebook.
The two dancers were wonderful to watch. Eirini Apostolatou is a particularly charming performer, her shifting emotions and facial expressions were a delight.
Often when I watch contemporary dance, I just look at the dancers, the beautiful movements and take it as is, without analysing the meaning or thinking about themes. I find spending too long trying to understand something as it is happening makes it less enjoyable than just experiencing it. On other occasions the theme dominates so much that the dance is almost coincidental. I think this piece got the balance just about right by combining the closeness of the dance with the projected images and Google searches, which were part of both the interpretation and the creative choreography.
The use of projection in this piece, particularly on the body was beautiful. I loved it aesthetically, but it also made me reflect on how I wear my own digital identity.
I am both an incredibly open and private person – I over-share but I am hard to get close to. My online presence has empowered me and has helped me see myself through the eyes of others (in a good way), but for now I am in control of it. There could be a time when that changes, if some weird blogger mishap turns into a viral scandal, if I make enemies who share things about me I don’t want aired in public, if trolls target me or if I make some amazingly high profile fuck up.
If you make a mistake online, you don’t have to look someone in the eye as you do it. The immediate embarrassment may be less, and you might get away with it. It might be drowned out in other information, you could delete that tweet before anyone takes a screenshot, but then again some things might pop up like an unwanted ad when your boss is looking over your shoulder.
Don’t fear your digital tattoo though, we all have regrets, just make sure you know how to wear them… with the grace of dancer.
Digital Tattoo is supported by Arts Council England, Otherplace Productions, South East Dance and Richer Sounds.
The very beautiful photography is by Eleanor Kelly
Source – cassyfry.com