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Catherine Pancake
Axon Ladder
October 3rd - November 2nd

Axon Ladder
HD Video shot on Phantom Miro
2-Channel Sound

Axon Ladder is a collaborative project with Pancake, sound artist Bhob Rainey, and choreographer Meg Foley. The video and sound installation is built upon shared interests in artistic engagement with new technologies and emergent poetic events. The piece started with a foundational composition by Rainey using artificial intelligence scripts to affect electronic sound art. This composition was used as inspiration for a cinema and dance collaboration in which Pancake and Foley worked with a high speed industrial camera with cinema lenses to construct and film multiple 10 to 20 second micro dance pieces slowed to four minutes in length. The camera operates by using a cache so that Pancake had to trigger filming spontaneously to “capture the past.” The camera triggering and dance pieces were improvised in tandem.

In Axon Ladder, the dancer’s cinematic body is both conceptual and experiential. The piece changes the relational framework of Foley’s choreography by dividing up the perceived and idiosyncratic ends of a given movement. In so doing, it changes how the movement is read as material and its incremental parts and overall “shape.” One might ask how choreographic shape and definition function in this “outer” space where the body is weighted and weightless. The dance piece becomes a functional visual motion study as well as aesthetic material. By zeroing in on a moment of action, the larger framework of time is both fetishized and dissolved. Rainey describes the process as a completion and extension of a human-technological knot forming a loop-like structure of artificial life (technological presence) -> musical composition (aesthetic activity) -> dance (embodied aesthetic activity) -> uncanny videography (technological mediation) that plays and feeds into itself. The result can be hypnotically seductive and aesthetically sensorial as well as unnervingly intense.

Catherine Pancake is an award-winning filmmaker and sound artist. Her work has been presented nationally and internationally in a wide variety of venues, including the Museum of Modern Art, Royal Ontario Museum, Baltimore Museum of Art, Academy of Fine Arts Prague and Big Screen Plaza, Herald Square NYC. Her awards include the Paul Robeson Independent Media Award, Jack Spadaro Documentary Award, Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award, the Silver Chris, and Edes Foundation Emerging Artist Fellowship at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her films have been broadcast in the U.S.A. and Great Britain (Sundance Channel, PBS, FreeSpeech TV, CommunityChannelUK) and are distributed by Bullfrog Films and the Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre. Pancake is currently working on a video commissioned by Goldsmiths at University of London for the Citizen Sense project funded by the European Research Council.