In September 2015 The Ar(t)chive, South Africa’s leading dance and physical performance archive, launched Portal: A Prequel at their inaugural BodyTech festival with a fantastic programme of events as part of Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival and Connect ZA’s Innovation month. These events were streamed live via www.manystudios.co.uk setting the stage for a 3-year collaboration between MANY Studios and The Ar(t)chive.
In March 2016, MANY Studios and The Ar(t)chive then came together physically in both locations for the first time. On 11th and 12th March 2016 live events took place simultaneously in Glasgow and Johannesburg to launch the innovative technology developed by Bushveld Labs in partnership with leading South African choreographer and performer Athena Mazarakis. In Glasgow, we invited a new audience to enter Portal, an interactive digital and analogue gaming environment, guided and triggered by a choreographed performance by Athena Mazarakis and Craig Morris. The event connected Glasgow to Johannesburg through a sensory application and audience participatory interaction. Through an app developed for this performance audiences were able to engage with the live show and manipulate elements of the performance remotely. This became a real connection between space, place and time.
ABOUT BODYTECH AND PORTAL
BodyTech debuts as an innovative platform for exploring the South African performing body’s relationship with technology. This initiative explores the historical and current landscape of contemporary dance and technology in South Africa by engaging with pioneers in the field of dance, performance and technology. BodyTech also investigates and interrogates relevant issues and themes on this subject as well as navigates the complexities of technology in theatre dance - from technical, collaborative and practical points of view.
The collaboration culminates in a site-specific public art work which will be placed in the public realm in both Johannesburg and Glasgow from 2016 - 2020, exploring themes of connectivity, tactility, human connection and empathy. The art work will profile the importance of connection between individuals as the means to constantly shape and hold agency over the modeling of a future – the moments which are a history in the making – recorded and democratized as equally valuable as any event on a national and global scale.
This event is proudly made possible through the collaborative efforts of The Ar(t)chive, British Council South Africa and Connect ZA, Bushveld Labs, Athena Mazarakis and Craig Morris and UK partners MANY Studios in Glasgow.
For more information on research to date, please check out The Ar(t)chive brochure for the September 2015 programme of events.