Video dance of the day: Pilobolus on TEDTalks

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Sun, 02/18/2007 - 02:14.

Here is the first video dance I've seen packaged up with promo sponsor ads at the beginning and on the player - so, if this funds good content, is that bad? We'll see this tested more and more every day... for now, see what you think of what the sponsors like...

Phil Borges

From TED Blog: Before the dance company Pilobolus performs, Director Robby Barnett sets the stage: “I’d like to introduce you to Pilobolus crystallinus, a dung-loving fungus,” Barnett says, framing the acclaimed dance company’s evolution in true Pilobolus fashion — with humor, sincerity and scientific metaphors . Barnett describes how ignorance, a deep belief in collective activity, and the inspiration of nature gave birth to the dance troupe Pilobolus, and has allowed this “tiny arts organism” to survive some 35 years. Company members Otis Cook and Jennifer Macavinta then perform the sensuous duet “Symbiosis.” Whether it traces the birth of a relationship, or the co-evolution of simple, symbiotic species is left open to interpretation. But the gorgeous, organic choreography — blurring the boundaries between the performers — is a clear success. (Recorded February 2005 in Monterey, CA Duration: 14:30)

Download this performance: Video (MP4)

Great, but what about the

Great, but what about the intellectual property issues; at least a credit for the dancers, the composer and the choreographer in the video? Maybe we could have some info on the company that might take you to that info if not a page of credits at the end of the dance??? I shouldn't be surprised that dancers, choreographers, musicians and composers get the short shrift here. Nameless, faceless they are despite how riveted we are by their performances.

I was annoyed to not see even a mention of the composers. The scores are Thomas Oboe Lee's ''Morango . . . Almost a Tango,'' George Crumb's ''God Music,'' Arvo Pärt's ''Fratres'' and Jack Body's ''Long-Ge.''The choreography is by Michael Tracy.

Video is the conduit. The real art is in the work captured. But then Pilobolus has been selling their work without credit for the corporate world prior to this latest venture. Dancers and dance audiences recognize them in commercials, too. They and continue to sell themselves in this way. Buy Pilobolus here.

If they make a snippet for a commercial, then it is a commission, but this is a full length work, not a BMW commercial. Or is it just a commercial? Once again, art ends up at the bottom of the heap, continuing its Sisyphean task of driving innovation.

With the money attached, we would hope to see some linkage back to the company or the people behind the work. It is understandable for low budget productions to toss out some clips of work with little production credit, but when the buck are there, I have to ask, does that mean there is not a "Symbiosis" of starlet and producer; that you make the work, sell it and then have no rights to the creative product? We have become accustomed to this way of using art. My husband often remarks about how music from our teen years appeared in commercials for big manufacturers decades ago; most notably Janis Joplin for Mercedes Benz. Ever since the Rolex print ads, Pilobolus has been in the advertising public eye. Everybody knows they are Pilobolus right?

Momix dancers were in the recent Hanes commercial. Dancers, always the poorest of the arts inflicted, run after these opportunities. Modern choreographers who sought recognition ran after ballet companies to perfom their work for wel-to-do patrons. (Now instead of being recognized as artists in the new American made art form of modern dance they call themselves Ballets.) But the bottom of the heap the guys whose work presses the dance world forward remain unknown and unsupported. No surprise there.

Now you will say, well these corporations are nurturing the arts by hiring them for these high profile opportunities. here's an interesting take on that from NYTimes critic Anna Kisselgoff.

The NY Times Dec. 29, 2002
Cool Is No Longer Cool. Feeling Is Back.
For all the high spots in dance this year, a great deal of what was on view was superficial rather than deep. It could excite and entertain but it did not disturb. This is not to say that dance needs to revert to narrative and dramatic content, although, in some quarters, it has. Formal choreography (George Balanchine) can have a greater impact than any literal work. | Form has its own value. Any modernist can telFypu that. But has anyone noticed that no one is choreographing like Merce Cunningham the supreme formalist, except Merce Cunningham? Somehow, choreographers are flailing about in search of feeling. Doug Varone and Pascal Rioult are two who succeed with highly physical choreography that builds into strong emotional undercurrents. Cool is no longer cool. No matter how serious, too much choreography today remains on the surface. Perhaps that is why some producers from major theaters and festivals made for the exits in November after a performance by the Silesian Dance Theater from Bytom, Poland. The piece that the company's director, Jacek Luminski, presented at the Kitchen, "Straight Into the Eyes," was neither fun nor fluent, as so many works are today. Instead, it was full of unstated emotion. The specific meaning was unclear, but the sense of unease in the dancers' encounters was stirring enough to have most of the audience remain for a discussion afterward with the choreographer. This was not a spectacular, even slick, ready-made production that could go straight into the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival. We have come a long way since 1968-9, when Harvey Lichtenstein, then the Academy's new director, introduced relative unknowns like Twyla Tharp, Eliot Feld and yes, Alvin Ailey and Mr. Cunningham to a wider audience. At that time, Mr. Lichtenstein as well as Norman Singer at Hunter College and City Center, and Charles Reinhart, then producer of a major modern-dance series in New York, were willing to nurture the untested. They did not import the latest from Europe. Nor were these now-celebrated choreographers invited to be part of an official arts community. They were rebels and formed their own community. The recognition that choreographers today need support in their search for new directions was obvious this year when the term "mentor" was suddenly heard with increasing frequency. The opening of Dance Theater Workshop's new building in October was a welcome event. This venerable experimental dance sponsor now offers choreographers and dancers a larger theater, studio space and a technology lab. The mentors it provides are not artistic guides but experts in media technology. They will offer advice to choreographers, chosen for fellowships. Still, we are in the age of panel-approved artists, and in two well-intentioned new projects, the use of mentors implies art directed from above. Mikhail Baryshnikov is creating a center for artists, chosen by a panel, to work with mentors. Rolex, the Swiss watchmaker, is subsidizing mentors and their "proteges," chosen by a panel. What about those who are not chosen? Perhaps they can band together as Paris's best painters once did in a Salon des Refuses. The idea of William Forsythe and Robert Wilson attempting to preserve their current provocateur status while acting as Rolex mentors is hilarious. In the past, creativity came from choreographers who rebelled against mentors. There is a difference between nurturing and mentoring.


more dancing for a buck

Watch out Spencer Tunick...

here comes Sanex.

In art there are no patents. Is this the difference between art and science? Is it like the native people's response to owning land... "how high up do you own it?" We have divided and compartmentalized land ownership and now intellectual property rights. Will our emerging global view lead to the erradication of such ownership? Will our progeny be one mass of life that is the owner caretaker of all innovation and responsibility for the earth organism? Back to Symbiosis... who owns, whose responsible for the blade of grass, the rain, the sun, the soil??? or is it all one living dying cyclical entity??? These are big thoughts for a Sunday morning.


The image of the nudes laying down in an aisle run adjacent to the Rock and Roll Fame Hall with the City of Cleveland in the background is, I'll bet, copyrighted.  Where is the image credit, anyway?

unclear comment

Sorry, I thought everyone knew Spencer Tunick.
Duh, never assume... my bad.

This is a really nice Tunick

I did the shoot in Cleveland and while cold it was lots of fun. This photo by Tunick is really great. I like his work and am glad to have had a role in one of his works and to have a copy. Would love to see more of this type of smart, participatory art here.

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Not for commercial use

Jeff, we should revisit the whole copyright issue on REALNEO. Our position is that all content remains the exclusive property of the creator. We don't use anything for commercial use so there are certain rights to use for media - there should be attributions - we should look at the terms of use and Creative Commons.

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