MCLA Presents! to Offer 'Drawing from the Body' Video and Dance Performance


NORTH ADAMS, MA - Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) and the Berkshire Cultural Resource Center (BCRC) has announced a series of video and dance installation performance pieces co-presented with the Williams College Dance Department.

On Thursday and Friday, Sept. 29-30 at 6 and 8 p.m., the back room of the DownStreet Art gallery MAYA IV, 49 Main St., will be transformed by "DRAWING FROM THE BODY," an installation performance by choreographer Polly Motley, video artist Molly Davies and composer Paul Geluso.

On Saturday, Oct. 1, at 2 p.m., "Video Portraits," a three-part video by Motley and Davies, will invite the audience to become an active participant in the creation of new work.

According to Ballet International, "Polly Motley is a beautiful fluid dance.  The simplicity of her movements was all the more beautiful after the technological wizardry displayed by Davies. These marvelous artists should not be missed." 

The "DRAWING FROM THE BODY" performances will include two works - "Autopsy" and "Dressing."

"Autopsy" is a 30-minute installation performance with live video feed from two cameras, mixed by Davies. The performance occurs and is shot in one room while the changing video mix is largely displayed in another. The audience will move at will between the various aspects of the work.

"Dressing" is a three-monitor installation by Davies of a four-minute, three synchronous image work. The piece plays two complete loops and then is joined by a large display of live dressing occurring in another room.

The idea for "Autopsy" came to Motley "in a flash." "I had the idea of the woman on the table with two people videoing it with two monitors in the room. People would have to walk past this body to look at the monitors," Motley explained. "It was Molly's idea to feed those cameras through a mixer and to project that mix to a wall in another room. It was a real collaboration." 

"It's part of traditional Western European art where the female nude is one of the main subject matters," Davies said. "When Polly works with video, it's a very interesting, one-to-one relationship between differences of live performance and media-recorded performance. You see all three of those layers.

"In the first layer, there's a live person on a table to add some edginess for the fact that it's a nude person under a sheet," Davies continued. "You may or may not feel comfortable approaching that. In the same room, you see two video monitors of the two women that are actually shooting this live performance so that, on the monitor, you might see ... a different perspective." 

In another room, Davies creates a mix from the two live feeds to create a more aesthetic version of the entire experience.  

The second work, "Dressing," includes a pre-recorded video

"It is a nice closure to the evening because it's a pre-recorded piece on three monitors," Motley explained. "The third time it plays, once again I am in another room where I cannot be seen, being shot dressing in the same way as in the pre-recording. We synchronize my dressing, which is projected large on a screen, with what's happening on the three monitors."

The audience will have an opportunity to take their own flash photographs during the performance because "I want to encourage people to look very closely and people are more apt to do that if they're using a camera," Motley said. "As a performer, I can give you something access to something that's very personal ... and really intimate." 

In addition, Motley will teach two choreography/composition courses to MCLA students as part of her residency. She and Davies also will present a workshop to MCLA students in "Video Portraits," about how the camera can shoot live action, working with performance and media, and that relationship.  

Tickets to the MCLA Presents! performance on Thursday, Sept. 29, are $10 for general admission. Tickets for MCLA alumni are $8, $5 for staff and faculty, and members and students are free. They may be reserved by calling MCLA Presents! at (413) 662-5204. For more information, (413) 664-8718, or go to presents .