Ana-Maria Lucaciu in The Copier, photo by Evan
I returned to Chelsea on Friday evening for a final viewing of Jill Johnson’s The Copier. As I mentioned in my review of the opening night performance, every viewing of an interactive installation such as The Copier provides a unique and slightly different experience. So I was eager to observe the installation again and see what new subtleties I would discover.
David Poe’s score, which is filled with digital chaos, resonated with me even more as I became aware of the sounds around me: the distant blare of an ambulance, cell phones beeping before the performance began, the sound of people shifting from one part of the room to another, even the faint sound my camera made when I took a photograph. But the harsh technological sounds in the score are balanced by melodic piano solos, and the choreography reflected the distinctions between the two. The dancers moved as an ensemble to the jarring city noise or the sound of a copier, often rushing about at lightning speed and following – or at least recognizing – each others’ movement. To the more serene sections of the score, they danced slowly, almost delicately, in duets or solos – without any noticeable copying. The piece’s peaceful closing, with dimmed lighting that distinctly contrasted with the fluorescent white lights that hung along the sides of the theater, emphasized the significance and rarity of an individual moving freely and independently. Copying was the inspiration for and theme of The Copier, but I found the moments of individuality to be the most poignant and striking.