The most fascinating thing about the reference video for Merce Cunningham's Loops is Merce's facial expressions or lack thereof. As he has aged, Loops has become smaller and more intimate, moving from full-body performance to finger and wrist movements. Perhaps the next step would have brought the dance further inward, to the subtle motions of eye, nose, cheeks, mouth. This unintentional performance – evoking adaptation in the face of aging, or perhaps the evolution of the artist – is more moving than the most precise description of his actual movements.
Commissioned for the Boston Cyberarts Festival 2009 as part of Loops – New Iterations.
In 2001, Paul Kaiser, Shelly Eshkar, and Marc Downie captured the motion of renown choreographer Merce Cunningham performing his one person dance, Loops. They then wrote software that used the motion-capture data set to create a screen-based abstract digital portrait of Cunningham. In 2008, the Cunningham Foundation and the artists put the data online as open source under a Creative Commons license with the help of the Mellon Foundation. Boston Cyberarts, with the help of the LEF Foundation, asked three artists, Brian Knep, Golan Levin and Casey Reas and one artist team, Sosolimited (Eric Gunther, Justin Manor, and John Rothenberg) to use this opportunity to reinterpret Loops as new artworks for the 2009 Boston Cyberarts Festival.