“veers between the freaky and the beautiful. They comprise the languages of our bodies and our minds.”
The Boston Globe
At midnight in November 2002, Art Bridgman was in the company’s studio in the lower Hudson Valley, twenty miles north of New York City. They had recently finished Carried Away, a dance using a translucent wall of hanging fabric that allowed them to work in both light and shadow. Their use of shadows expanded the work from a duet to a quartet, creating simultaneous, parallel existences. The next step was to expand this concept to include video imagery.
On that late night in the studio, Art videotaped himself, projected his image life-size, and began stepping into and out of it. When Myrna came to see what he was working on, they began to experiment with the relationship between Art and his moving image. By 3 a.m., they knew that they had found a new direction in their work. The portrayal of several sides of the self, and the process of confronting oneself were made visually tangible. They began to explore the ambiguity between what is real and what is image through the integration of video into their live performance.
That moment of discovery led to their first “Video Partnering” piece, Seductive Reasoning. Conceptually, this new direction vastly expanded the possibilities of the duet and stretched the boundaries of their live performance. Their work, which they had always envisioned as a lens on the self and on the nature of relationships, was now enhanced in its range by the emergence of video alter-egos. This opened up new ways to portray the complexity of identity.
They were on a trajectory that led them deeper into the exploration of what was possible. They soon built their collaborative team of filmmakers Jim Monroe and Peter Bobrow; composers Glen Velez, Robert Een, and Ken Field; and lighting designer Frank Den Danto III.
From that first seed of an idea came the next works: Under The Skin and Memory Bank, which with Seductive Reasoning comprise Trilogy, followed by Double Expose and Voyeur. Each work brought new complexities and nuances to the relationship between live performer and video image. Bridgman and Packer continue to use their studio (often late at night, when time seems to slow down) as a dance and media laboratory, setting up cameras, projectors, and screens. They improvise, experiment, and seek unexpected interactions of the live and virtual, honing and developing a resonant concept until it becomes an entity in the work.