WHAT
IS
DANCE
?

Sound Installation

Singuhr Projects | Meinblau Projektraum, 2017

 

 »What is Dance?«. The installation consists of an arrangement of various sound objects (pieces of wood, cymbals, rotating plastic film) in the space, which are played mechanically in a predefined choreography, thus interpretating three dances of Henry Purcell’s opera »The Fairy Queen«.

What is Dance? Text by María Muñoz

In 1701, the full score of Henry Purcell’s opera The Fairy Queen (1692) went missing. What if 316 years later, travelling in time and space, in 2017  almost a numerical anagram of the year 1701— Robert Lippok had brought together a loudspeaker system, pieces of wood, cymbals, and rotating plastic film equipped with sensor technology and electric motors to make good that loss? Placed in the space and played mechanically in a predefined choreography, uncanny, striking, maybe outrageous, yet ravishing, Lippok’spiece What Is Dance? commands both love and respect using all these myriad elements to reinterprete the three dances of The Fairy Queen.

If Purcell was inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream (c. 1595) and his charactersentertain Shakespeare’s dramatis personae: a fairy choir interrupted by drunken poets;elves, nymphs, monkeys, dryads celebrating love, and the chariot-riding sun god Phoebus praising Oberon; Lippok unfolds his self-made mechanical movements into a playable spatial sound-based installation inspired also by American sound artist Joe Jones, whose Music Machines are a direct influence for the development of the instruments of What is Dance?

Combining elements from art, music, theatre, as well as stage design and objectsLippok’s unorthodox installation What is Dance?with its specific design, not only rediscovered mechanicals techniques of turning and progress, but also gesture and stillness, bringing out qualities of performance dance: the plastic film, as if it were the flowing tutu of a ballerina moves rhythmically to music within the given space, releasing energy, turning ceremonial but agile, aerial and delicate, reliable and eternal.

What is Dance? Music composition sets the rhythm of the dance: the default move to which a dancer returns, the minimal basic step, figure, movement, pattern, or simply theessential of the dance that defines the character of this particular representation. Feelings like love, affection, jealousy, revenge emerge in Shakespeare’s comedy A MidsummerNight’s Dream in such a rare and capricious ensemble that they justify the qualification of chimera. A dream that continues through Purcell’s The Fairy Queen opera, and Lippok’s choreographed sound machine What is Dance?