The adolescent narrative (movie-ofthe-week stuff about growing up with alcoholic parents) and New Age-y music, however, reminded us that no matter how well the technology is executed, without equal artistic elements, beauty is only screen deep. Not that making technology and artistry equal partners is without its
own dangers. In Inner Spaces of Drifting, video artist Rogolja Wolf and choreographer Jennifer Predock-Linnel offered mesmerizing aquatic images on the screen and a smart dance trio,which seemed lost in the dark at the bottom of the horizontally divided set. Screen and stage worked here as partners of equal but separate strength, forcing the audience to choose between watching one or the other: a tworing circus.
Others at the conference more successfully integrated technology with art. In her hallucinatory dance, Communion, Montreal dancer/choreographer Isabelle Choiniere explored ancient and contemporary nuances of dance within a tableaulike form.As electronic whispers invoked the goddesses Isis, Diana and Hecate, Choiniere-clad in a sensor-laden, Day-Glo leotard-reproduced her image on the scrims in front of and behind her. With majestic movements, she evoked this century’s dance goddesses. While sine waves undulated on the scrims, she drew a molten voice from her red-lit mouth. In slow dissolves, Choiniere seemed to incarnate the temple dancer, body builder, exotic dancer.
In Troika Ranch’s powerhouse In Plane, the only livestock was a twolegged creature: Dawn Stoppiello, in electronically augmented garb. The outfit is called a MidiDancer sensory suit by its inventor, Mark Coniglio. Coniglio-Troika Ranch’s composer and co-artistic director-positioned sensors within the garment that encoded information and sent it to an offstage computer. Stoppiello thus controlled the dynamics and timing of Coniglio’s music and video projections. She raced like a speed skater against her own image.
Since 1993, Troika Ranch has been an incubator for posing what was perhaps the main question of the conference: Which comes first, the dancer or the technology? Based on the IDAT showcase, techno-artists are still struggling to solve this riddle.