David Michalek’s Slow Dancing comes to Harvard Square

David Michalek’s Slow Dancing is an outdoor multi-screen installation featuring larger-than-life, hyper-slow-motion video portraits of dancers and choreographers. It will be projected on the façade of Widener Library in Harvard Yard, adjacent to Boylston Hall, as part of the 20th anniversary celebration of Harvard’s ARTS FIRST festival. Free and open to the public.

Presented by the Harvard’s Office for the Arts, Public Art Program and ARTS FIRST, with support from the Office of the President and Harvard Campus Services and a special thanks to the staff of Widener Library, Slow Dancing, David Michalek’s video installation featuring larger-than-life, hyper-slow-motion video portraits of dancers and choreographers, offers insight into the physics of movement and the essence of creativity. The artist recorded each subject’s movement, against a black backdrop, at 1,000 frames per second (compared to standard film’s 30 frames per second) to produce a perception-altering performance. Freed from the constraints of gravity and context, the dancer on the screen reveals the complexity of gesture and judgment that normally would escape the viewer’s eye.

With these images, Michalek conjures a fluid stillness, creating a meditative time and space amidst the rush and crush of contemporary life. Slow Dancing engages the senses and the mind in an encompassing experience of awareness. The work also transforms Harvard Yard, calling forth its symbolic significance as a place for contemplation.

While each performer on the outsized screen mesmerizes, the trio of dancers randomly projected also presents a thought-provoking comparison of culturally diverse interpretations of dance and gesture. Michalek documented an international cohort of over 40 dancers—from virtuosi of ballet and Balinese classical dance to masters of hip-hop and krumping—including Harvard’s own Jill Johnson, Director of the OFA Dance Program and faculty member in the Department of Music. (View information about all the performers, and read comments by the artist.)

Slow Dancing may be approached at multiple levels—as sanctuary, cross-cultural discovery, experiment in image technology, biological and neuronal investigation, exploration of perception, singular artistic vision, and more. This rich confluence of understandings closely aligns with the creative innovation and interdisciplinary emphasis that thrives at Harvard, strengthening the arts and other disciplines at the University. It also represents a paradigm of arts practice that ARTS FIRST, Harvard’s annual festival of student and faculty creativity, encourages and celebrates with its 20th anniversary this year.

Click here to watch the video: http://www.slowdancingfilms.com/about_en.php

For additional information about this event, please call 617.495.8676, www.slowdancing.harvardarts.org