Pixel: Dancing Digital

Hip Hop Dance and Digital Art Collide in Adrien Mondot, Claire Bardainne and Mourad Merzouki Collaboration


As creatives who have been working for several years in the areas of live dance & performance mixed with digital arts, the exact job title of duo Adrien Mondot & Claire Bardainne is hard to define.

However, ‘visual artists’ might be a sufficient catchall term, considering their past works such as Cinematique (2010), Hakanaï (2013), and XYZT.

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In their 2014 collaboration with choreographer and Mourad Merzouki, Adrien and Claire managed to merge the movement and bodies of hip hop dancers, with a lively, dynamic digital environment. They did this with the use of an app they’ve developed themselves, called eMotion. It creates interactions between graphical objects and real word information, working as an editor that allows you to define a graphic world composed of objects (like points, lines, images, videos), to specify how they move.

‘We are currently working on a new show with flying dancers meeting images in the air!’ Adrien revealed to us. ‘It will be finished in October 2015, and it uses a new secret software!’

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Although the pair is busy with a new installation based on Pepper’s Ghost optical illusion, as well as continually developing their software tools, we’ve managed to pin them down for a quick chat:

The Plus: Whose idea was Pixel?
Adrien Mondot & Claire Bardainne:
The idea to mix our work with Hip-hop dance came when we met Mourad Merzouki: optical illusion is a principle we share. Lots of the ideas were already in our previous performances, but we had the feeling that revisiting them with Hip-Hop energy could bring everything to a new level.

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TP: Could you tell us about the creative steps on your part of the project?
AM & CB:
First we have chose to use projections on transparent screen (made with tulle) and ground, because this two axis give a great way to build space illusions and anamorphosis.
The second parameter is the interactive digital environment : how the body of the dancers enters the picture, how to marry up digital and material, organizing coincidences. We never put sensors on the body. We are controlling with our hands (with iPads, Leap motion and wacom tablets) the digital materials. We work with high tech tools in a sensitive, handcrafted way. In short, we play puppeteers!

TP: What was the main challenge?
AM & CB:
To work with multiple dancers at the same time and to find the way to interact with them.
There are several layers of interaction in some scenes: for example the sounds make some visual actions and the body of the dancers make other actions.