Intimate touch has been out of reach for so many dancers during COVID. For a creative practice that relies so much on the call-and-response of bodies interacting with one another in space, this time has been isolating to say the least. Artist and dancer Callie Chapman’s piece, [Blend], a hybrid of live-streamed video and live performance, calls into question the ways in which we interact with movement in real life and in digital spaces. By manipulating recordings of her own dancing and the movements of her dancer-collaborators, Chapman introduces a new kind of interactivity to creative dance practices.
After filming individual dance performances, Chapman mixed and manipulated the cuts, live-streaming and projecting the resulting video as she went. Throughout the event, comments and reactions coming from viewers brought about more inspiration, bringing a sense of live co-creation to the digital video collage. Chapman curated collaborative movement in a time when communal movement has been so restricted for anyone, but especially for dancers.
Having integrated projection with live performance throughout her career, Chapman naturally turned to projection for this piece as it provided an accessible way for viewers to experience the piece from afar. Throughout the piece, Chapman circles around the concept of biofeedback, and how it can be achieved in digital space by layering or placing dancers near one another. Nearly all of the dancers in the piece performed alone, a manifestation of the solitary conditions of quarantine. Even though most didn’t dance in the same space, Chapman’s treatment of their bodies puts their movements in conversation with one another in a mesmerizing way, such that one might forget the isolation around us.
— An Uong
Callie Chapman is a multidisciplinary designer, video artist, choreographer, and curator. Based in greater Boston, Callie was awarded the 2020 choreography fellowship from the Massachusetts Cultural Council in Choreography. Callie founded Studio@550 in 2016, a multidisciplinary arts studio which was located in Central Sq, Cambridge. Callie’s video and projection design has been commissioned for companies such as Odyssey Opera, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Prometheus Dance, Pa Sy Dance, and Corrector Records. Enjoying the thrill of live performances, Callie’s affinity for combining live dance performance and generative video art is where her interest lies. www.calliechapman.com
For a playlist of her work: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6o5mzxmv-2ZIuOTRrUd5eA