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Presented by Salamanca Arts Centre and Mobile States.

Vivaria latin place of life”; plural. An enclosed area for animals or plants simulated on a smaller scale. 

Vivaria by James Saunders is a Kafkaesque co-joining of macro and micro urban environments, articulated by dancers, invoking psychological space. The environments were drawn from a variety of countries, shot with compact mpeg cameras which allowed a spontaneous, high quality capturing of imaginary space from the street.  Spaces and performers were situated in paradox to each other, and rotating cube transitions created a randomising factor, as though all elements were part of a poker machine-type game of chance, where clusters of images could be juxtaposed with each other.  In relation to the immediate and free shooting style of animated urban space, it has made me ask, what are people’s various relationships to urban space, and in particular, digital urban space?

Digital distortion can make junctions between contemporary architecture and nature by searching for fractal generation and modifying scales of urban space.  All the separate parts, dance and backgrounds together, were made separately without knowledge of how they would piece together to find an answer or a psychological solution. The choreography explored the basis of a character’s existence and their pre-choreographed understanding of urban space.  The editing of the choreography had to be equal or less weighted to the editing of the overall structure – the dancers were subjected to the dominant mechanised structure and pattern.

The cube structure spatially suggested that all of these mechanised tableaus were interchangeable. The ‘wipe’ infers it comes from a certain place, different to the places of other material. A co-joining of impossible spaces and bodies elicits the dancer as a hybrid creature—anthropomorphic, like Descarte’s ‘Animal Machines’.  In some sense the pre-shot dancer appeared to have somehow adapted to the environment.


Wednesday 10 – Saturday 13 August 2011 9:00am – 5:00pm

Wednesday 17 – Friday 19 August 2011 9:00am – 5:00pm




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