Former Print Publication Now Produces iPad-Only Performance Art
Patsy Tarr, director of the 2wice Arts Foundation, believes dance needs to go in the direction of mobile technology. The organization chose the iPad as their vehicle for change.
“The greatest thing that digital could add is the incorporation of video,” Tarr says. “And for dance, that’s just the whole thing. Instead of describing the dance in print in writing and a photograph, we could actually just show the dance.”
In June, 2wice released the Fifth Wall app in the Apple store (99 cents). The concept of Fifth Wall was dreamed up by 2wice’s art director Abbott Miller. The dance was choreographed and performed by Jonah Bokaer.
“We were never ‘traditional’ in that we operated the magazine as if it was a performing arts venue, staging performances in order to capture them in print,” Miller tells Mashable. “This is the spirit we want to bring to the digital realm as well.”
In making Fifth Wall, black wooden planks were nailed together to make a sturdy rectangular box, proportional to the iPad’s miniature frame. The piece was performed and shot within this unique stage.
The end result is a very interactive experience. By downloading the Fifth Wall app, iPad users can access four two-minute performances, which can be enjoyed individually or simultaneously.
“We can move him, shrink him and enlarge him,” Tarr says. “For this particular app, the viewer has a chance to be the choreographer.” Viewers can also rotate the tablet to change the screen’s orientation.
The legendary New York City-based arts foundation 2wice was founded in 1989. Since 1997, it’s produced biannual publications inspired by art and dance. For six months at a time, the organization’s directors, artists and writers worked together to create bold thematic issues.
With the passage of time, it’s become clear the magazine needed to switch to digital publishing, Tarr says. The foundation released their first app for the iPad in 2011. The Merce Cunningham Event iPad app combined live-action video, interviews and photography in honor of the late choreographer.
This time around, the company wanted to create a completely unique experience with never-before-seen choreography. This will be the standard for future digital pieces produced for the iPad. For the next digital work, Tarr anticipates using different camera angles and plenty of surprise elements.
The idea was to make something new altogether and not just bring the print publication to the web. “I wanted to keep making something original and beautiful,” Tarr says.
Tarr, a dance veteran, describes herself as someone “really slow to pick up on technology.” But, as dance companies are still heavily relying on ticket sales for income, Tarr and Miller are pioneers in the field.
The goal eventually is to be able to tinker with code and recreate the iPad performances for the long-anticipated Apple TV. This is the future of dance, Tarr says.
“If you could download an original dance for 99 cents, you could have kinetic art in your home,” Tarr says. “It would finally put dance alongside painting and film that could be seen in one’s home. If I could get the product on Apple TV that would be absolutely incredible because these screens are large and many people do have them on the wall.”
The 2wice iPad apps are just a launching board. The challenge has always been to “make dance like fine art in that it can extend beyond the theater,” she adds. Digital technology is making that happen.
For a sneak peek of the Fifth Wall app available in the Apple iTunes Store, watch the video below:
Do you think iPad-only productions and publications will increase in popularity? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Images courtesy of 2wice.
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