Falling Up (2001)

Cindy Cummings Performance/Choreography
Todd Winkler Sound/Video/Programming


In “Pod,” Cummings created the dance specifically for the resulting look of the projection. Her abstract form appears on screen as a large pupa hanging upside down and swinging from the top of a dimly lit circle. General speed and activity are used to trigger a collection of sampled insect sounds that are further transformed and processed, accompanied by the constant low rumbling sound of a spacecraft. In this sci-fi scene of humanoid incubation, a distorted figure finally emerges from the pupa, hangs suspended from the ceiling, only to get sucked down into the center of a “black hole,” an effect caused by the flat video image being wrapped inside a three-dimensional cone.

Detailed Description

“Falling Up” is a multimedia dance/theatre/music/video collaboration featuring performer-controlled video and sound manipulation through the use of motion-sensing technology (The Very Nervous System). lessmore

This solo performance is the culmination of 4 years of research and development of a new choreographic language made possible by emerging digital technology, featuring interactive sound and audio processing (MAX/MSP), video playback, and real-time video processing (NATO), all influenced by the movement of a performer.

Falling Up explores concepts of gravity, flying and many of its related metaphors: the physical self, imagination, and how old beliefs hold us in place, limit and color our experiences. Inspired by inventors and pioneers, the first pilots, astronauts, and digital explorers, we examine moments in the 20th Century where technology enabled us to do something previously impossible and changed how we think forever. We also speculate on future technologies, enabling the body to be transported, modified and projected. These concepts are illustrated through a new kinesthetic vocabulary refined and inspired by live video and sound processing. The choreography is enhanced through use of the Very Nervous System, which uses a video camera to report speed and location to a computer. Movements are identified and mapped in software to play various sounds, text, or alter a dancer's projected image.