recombinant - the techn(o)rganic body (2003/04)

recombinant is a work on the contradictory themes of fragmentation and connectivity. It blends conceptual art, improvisation, composition, textures and structures.

It is based on a set of parameters and rules aiming to create an interactive environment. In this installation, a visual artist, sound artist, lighting specialist and two performers who wear movement sensors perform and improvise during fifty minutes amidst one hundred spectators. The spectators enter an open space, where they can circulate freely, like visitors of an installation. The performers are already in interaction with the images and sounds. Their movements and their voices reveal and transform the invisible into the visible. Their bodies are disjointed, dislocated; their identity is transgressed, their memories are erased. By manipulating four surfaces of mobile projections, curved and angular, opaque and transparent, the performers constantly reconfigure the performance space. These manipulations reveal an ensemble of changing architectural constructions, which inspire the spectators to move. Along their way, the spectators discover “virtual antechambers” where the present, the past, the real and the imaginary are confounded.  They also access a multiplicity of points of views, transparencies, layers of images and sounds. The bodies of the performers become multiple; they are reflected not only in the mechanical, but also in the media extensions. They form a network, a kind of living machine surpassing its own limits and resonating in other places. They are now confronted with their double. They become the pivot of a time machine and participate in the set-up of an auto-poetic system.

The creation of this work was marked by a particular attention to the constant reconfiguration of the performance space in relation to the movements and displacements of the spectators.

The alternating displacement and physical cohabitation between the performers and spectators provided an artistic material that may be called the sociology/choreography of crowds.


Conception and artistic direction: Martin Kusch and Marie-Claude Poulin / Choreographical work: Marie-Claude Poulin / Media Environment: Martin Kusch / Sound Environment: Alexandre St-Onge / Installation: Martin Kusch in collaboration with Louis-Philippe St-Arnault / Performance: Catherine Tardif and Martin Bélanger / Programming: Alexandre Burton / Sensor development: Johan Versteegh and Glenn Silver (Technology Playgroup)

recombinant is a co-production with: Banff New Media Institute in Banff, ZKM Centre for the Arts in Karlsruhe, Fondation Jean-Pierre Perreault, Maisons de la culture Mercier and Mont-Royal and Agora de la danse, in Montreal.

It was presented in 2004/2005 at:
FRAME - Festival
in Porto, ZKM Centre for the Arts in Karlsruhe, Transcodex II in Genoa, Mois Multi in Quebec, particules in Geneva, Maisons de la Culture Plateau Mont-Royal, Notre Dame de Grâce and Frontenac and at Agora de la danse, in Montreal.