Adopting a transdisciplinary approach to the dancing body, the research and creations of Van Grimde Corps Secrets are enriched by contributions from different disciplines to provide a multifaceted vision of the body, anchored in its time. Groundbreaking research in the pure, social and human sciences is combined with concepts from theatre, music and literature to forge a constantly renewed dialogue with dance. This approach has led Isabelle Van Grimde to collaborate with artists and researchers from diverse backgrounds, and to integrate digital technologies into the creation, production and dissemination of her works. The result is a wide range of artistic proposals that rethink and reformulate dance.
Stage pieces, choreography-concerts, installations, performances, publications and interactive web projects are all part of the repertoire of Van Grimde Corps Secrets.
Representative work presented during the Digital Dance Lab:
Symphony 5.1 – 2016
Symphony 5.1 is a work that immerses performers in an interactive visual environment, orchestrated by a score played live. Generated for the most part in real time, the dreamlike landscapes created by artist Jérôme Delapierre evoke the fabric of the increasingly complex virtual world in which we live.
An infrared camera system without sensors is activated by infrared lights, allowing viewers to follow the dancers in real time. The dancers thus become masters of the interaction, remaining completely free in their movements, which are captured and relayed to a software program designed for interactive multimedia content. The stage technicians must then launch the right visual content that allows the dancers to control the visuals and sound. A good guideline would be to choose software that is widely available, offering the best technical support.
Eve 2050 – The Installation
Designed to exist with or without live performances, Eve 2050: The Installation presents alternative scenarios of the web series on three interactive panels, as well as three sculptures by artist Marilène Oliver. Arranged in a gallery, they generate digital environments that depict the many facets of Eve and plunge the spectator into the heart of her world.
On three Plexiglas panels, each treated with Smart Film Glass that make them opaque or transparent, images of Eve are projected among images of the spectators and performers—captured, transformed and projected in real time. For this project, the interactive designer Jérôme Delapierre created boxes (Sense Boxes) enclosing two Kinect devices and a computer that make the system autonomous. The images are then projected onto the panels via six (or three) projectors arranged on either side of the panels so as to fill the entire space. This autonomous system ensures that no control room is contributing to the magic of the universe. The entire installation is controlled solely by a mini-computer, which can intervene in the event of major technical issues.
Dancers also have a substantial impact on the sound. Apart from a subtle and ever-present soundtrack by Thom Gossage, much of the music is generated by the dancers themselves, or by visitors moving in and out of the panels. Sound designer Frédéric Filteau has created special instruments for the occasion, which are played by the dancers and their movements.
Eve 2050 – The Installation is an interactive work that is easily transportable, given the autonomy of its systems. The calibration remains the same thanks to the Sense Box and panels. As long as the projectors are placed in the right places, that’s all there is to it!
Eve 2050 – The Stage Work, 2018
Eve 2050 – The Stage Work is a large-scale production in which the dancers, as masters of the interaction, perform a score that is as much choreographic as musical. The infrared camera and infrared lights that allow the dancers to be followed in real time are sensorless systems that are perfectly adapted for dance and freedom of movement (note that the camera used here does not need to be of professional calibre; a simple infrared security camera performs the job well.) Infrared light is necessary to be read by the infrared camera. The dancers therefore need to know how to position themselves to trigger the interactivity. Their movements transmit information that is processed by specialized interactive multimedia software. The control room must then launch the proper content that allows dancers to control the sounds and images. There are also three projectors arranged to redirect the image onto the stage and create a visual universe on the entire stage: a ceiling projector for the floor, a projector at the front of the stage for the back wall, and a projector at the back of the stage to pick up the audience and integrate them into the visual world.
The soundtrack is dependent only in the interactive parts. In these, the dancers can play with their range of motion to nuance the sound and make it seem as if the sounds come directly from their bodies.
The major challenge with the stage work is adapting the lighting and video calibration to each new hall to ensure the quality of the audiovisual interactions. This involves more set-up time than a work without technology.
Van Grimde Corps Secrets’ panelists: Juliette Pierre, Frédéric Filteau andThom Gossage.