Black Box / White Cube

Black Box / White Cube

Drew Heitzler and Flora Wiegmann
Black Box/White Cube, 2006
Dual-screen projection, dimensions variable
16mm film transferred to digital video
color, with sound

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Black Box/White Cube is a dual-screen projection of two 16mm films of a dancing body, performing a single movement phrase, mirrored within two specific spaces, the black box of the theater and the white cube of the gallery. These two spaces, sites of performance for at least the last 40 years, locate nuanced sets of rules that inscribe specific conventions upon all they contain. Black Box/White Cube, through a filmed examination of choreographed movement within those walls, re-presents those rules in an effort to re-inscribe those conventions; laying bare the subjective and thus socio-political limits of any action realized within the boundaries of any institution.

As the performer marks the boundaries of the space, initially through a pacing of the perimeter, she calls attention to the edges of each space. The theatrical stage suspends belief in these boundaries, witnessed in brief disappearing acts into the wings. The white walls of the gallery become very real spatial limitations, on which the body can lean, slide against or crumple into. As it progresses, the movement suggests spatial reference points (corners, walls, ceiling) whose variable distances from a perceived architectural center are echoed by shoulders, hips, thighbones, and their relationship with the torso.

The movement, though tempered by various aspects of each space, remains contained by both, punctuated only by slippage inherent in the film medium itself (light leak, over/under exposure, and non-synchronous sound) that pronounce the use of this archaic form of capturing an image of an archaic form of movement. Both are reflective of a period of art-making and dance that forty years ago sought an expanded field, an exploded boundary, and now are conventions of their own.