William Yong is exploring the relationship between human movement and technology in a 60-minute solo contemporary dance piece called Steer. Yong is the founder and director of Zata Omm dance company, and has partnered with Jérôme Delapierre and Navid Navab to try and ‘fuse biology and technology’ in his upcoming performance.
“Technology can allow us to see, feel and experience a world beyond our senses,” explains Yong. “[It can] empower us to manage and manipulate our environment in ways limited only by our imagination.” Using cameras, software engine Max MSP and motion sensors, Yong’s team has designed a system that produces real-time audio and video based on his movements on stage.
The images created through Yong’s dance movements are projected onto multilayered translucent screens around him. He assures that the video components are subtle, so as not to overshadow the dance taking place.
He says that Zata Omm recognizes the importance of technology, and sees it as an opportunity to broaden the potential of dance. “In Steer, body movement is not used as a medium to decorate,” said Yong. “Instead, it should be seen as having an intelligence of its own, capable of communicating bodily wisdom.”
By integrating the two mediums, Yong hopes to highlight technologies’ ability to ‘augment humanity.’ He concludes by stating, “Steer is monumental. It is five and a half years in the making. It is a visually stunning and poetic contemporary dance piece about the impact on humanity of merging flesh and technology.”
Steer will be making its debut as part of World Stage at the Harbourfront Centre at the Fleck Dance Theatre in Toronto from May 11-14.