There are various terms for dance film and technology, including video dance, choreography for the camera, cinedance, and more. Over time, I eventually came to recognize "screendance" as an umbrella term for all of the above genres.
My engagement with screendance, performance and documentation recording technologies began in an early performative research project, “Untitled Wall” (2013-2017). Working with drawing and painting at that time, I attempted to integrate somatic practice with traditional material processes in space. I used a digital camera and time lapse photography to mediate and record movement, affects, and phenomenological experiences of embodied listening.
The body and performance were transformed into a site of documentary activity, oscillating between direct lived temporal experience and its residual digital inscription. Through this research, digitizing and recording have gradually become an integral part of my work, which led me to embrace screendance as a primary method of creation, allowing me to integrate performance, choreography, technology, and visual art. The practice of screendance evolves through engagement with spaces, time, movement, and mediation processes between various materials. This results in works that take the form of moving-images, projection, screendance, and immersive installation.
My background as a painter and, later, the performance for the camera, were two spaces that I was interested in bringing into dialogue despite having different medium specificities and materialities. My screendance techniques are a result of the painting sensibilities I've developed over the years. I've thought about light, contrast, scale, composition, and space arrangement using the screen and the digital editing space. I can explore themes of movement (of the camera, the performing body, and the digital editing), form, materialities, and choreography by combining the space of the painting and the digital space. This allows me to explore moving bodies, affects, gestures, and their relationships to time and space.
I came to see screendance as a liminal, diasporic medium in flux, reinscribing “the body on the corpus of technology” (Rosenberg 2006: 59). It is where translations and mediation between media, research, creation, and identities intertwine. Screendance is another example of a site-specific practice. When considering the practice as a hybrid form in which the camera serves as the site (similar to a theater as a site of concert dance), The work takes place not only during the performance, but also in the camera space and the space where the work is presented (along with architectural elements, light, and objects).
Dance in a theater is subjected to a single point of view, whereas dance in film allows us to engage with the work from a variety of perspectives and points of view, including not only physical location but also metaphorical and poetic perspectives, as well as abstract representations of place, and allowing for a continuous transition and a fluid, nonlinear definition of place and time. The potential of screendance in the gallery space, a specific kind of inquiry for kinesthetic stimulus generated by the optical media space'. (Douglas Rosenberg, 14-15, 2012) Optical media allow us to observe gestures in close proximity, and even repeatedly, with a certain level of attentiveness, resulting in somatic spectatorial experiences. Brecht’s fourth wall can be a concept that can help explain the mediated and "imaginary" space between the actual performance and the screen (Bertolt Brecht). The performance for the camera is inherently a mediated experience, and the methods of recording have rendered the performing act as it occurred; however, the final representation of the screendance is achieved through various digital choreographic strategies, such as compositional and aesthetic strategies of the camera, objects in space, motion, repetition, rhythm, slowness, blur, distance, close-up, improvisation, and other qualities of movements created through the editing process. The operation of the camera during the performance recording and the editing process are what give the screendance its shape, and they're an integral part of the process.
The creative process of working with the digital camera and editing process evolve through investigation of movement. The very nature of the digital camera, along with digital choreographies in the editing process, invite a creative space for investigation of movement on a very intimate, embodied and affective level. The body is both subject and object of the film and there is no proposed or presumed narrative, nor a commonly known narrative of a live dance in theatre. In my screendance work, I’m interested in focusing on the kinesthetic and the non-linear perspective of time. This might speak to the possibility that the viewer can self-create a kind of ‘meta narrative’(Rosenberg), a structure in which the screendance has been created from disparate elements, either abstract or figurative, and digital technologies are used to create non-linear editing choreographies, as opposed to analog video. Therefore, the camera recording methods, the digital choreography and editing is a performance in and of itself. It is a real-time exchange between the digital camera and the performing gesture (that might be a body or other forms). Due to the improvised nature of the process, the camera and digital choreography editing process become an integral part of the work.