When We Meet Again @ Dance Base

Are Friends Electric?

Feature by Mark Harding | 30 Aug 2010
  • When We Meet Again

You wait outside for your appointment as if visiting an up-market doctor. Then when it's your turn you go into a darkened room and have the equipment fitted. There's an image check like an optician's and a soundcheck like a... And now the similarities with day-to-day experience start to disappear. You see images in the goggles, you hear instructions. Then, using someone else's body, you start to learn some dance steps...

The reviewer needs to be careful not to mislead anyone here. Me & The Machine's When We Meet Again is not body-swapping or neurone-invasive technology that hasn't been invented yet. What the show does achieve is to create an experience that both revives our appreciation of our own body, sensations, and grasp of time; and points forward to human issues of the coming technology.

...You feel as if you are in an enclosed bubble. The consciousness of your own body is dominant. But you know there is someone with you...

The performance is based around meeting a friend and her abrupt disappearances and re-appearances in different settings. (Such as a pedestrian bypass.)

The participant sees and hears the friend only when the goggles and headphones feed the appropriate data.

...You know what you are seeing is not 'real'. Or at least, not 'real' at this moment and place...

'The friend' is physically in the room during the performance. The participant can't directly see the friend. But the friend dances with the participant.

...You learn how much you cling onto the sensory information the equipment provides, even though they've shown you it's false...

...You learn how quickly the body adapts to movement lagging behind vision, rather than the everyday experience of movement leading on to new vistas...

As a technological experiment the show demonstrates how technology disconnects time, as well as distance, from personal interaction.

...There's closeness. Almost a feeling of intimacy: but detached and disembodied...

As dance, it reverses the usual parameters of dancers creating an environment and replaces it with the environment creating the dance.

...You remove the equipment. You're alone in a darkened room...

Part ghost train, part date, part fair ground ride, part out of body experience. The show only lasts ten minutes.

...Afterwards, it flickers in the back of your mind like the memory of an hallucination...

When We Meet Again, 24-27, Aug, 1pm, 4pm, 7pm, £3

http://www.lovedancebase.co.uk