Fractions I

1978, 32:59 min, color and b&w, sound

In Fractions I, four video monitors share the screen space with the dancers. Throughout the performance, these monitors show close-ups of the performers in the dance space, as well as images of those moving outside of the space. The images on the monitors share the same "tense" as the dancers who dance around them. Practically, this division of the video-dance and its image allowed filmmaker Charles Atlas to incorporate more dancers into a single take. Yet the fragmentation also reads conceptually. Fractions I tests the boundaries of perception through video technology and in turn demonstrates the inadequacy of any one angle or structure. With this multiplicity comes disorientation. Playfully, the video switches between black and white and color. At times the camera zooms all the way in on a monitor, allowing it to fill the screen and become the main viewpoint. The viewer moves from image to image, ultimately finding it difficult to create a "total" image of the dance, despite the inundation of perspectives and angles towards this end. Like Variations V, Fractions I suggests tension between what is seen and what is left unseen, and in turn, between different parts and their whole.

A Video Dance by Merce Cunningham and Charles Atlas. Choreography: Merce Cunningham. Direction: Charles Atlas. Dancers: Karole Armitage, Louise Burns, Graham Conley, Ellen Cornfield, Meg Eginton, Lisa Fox, Chris Komar, Robert Kovich. Music: 'Equal Distribution' by Jon Gibson. Sets and Costumes: Mark Lancaster. Camera: Elliot Caplan, Scott Daly, Jeff Hodges, Esti Marpet, Lynda Rodolitz, Curt Royston. Lighting: Andy Tron. Post-Production Assistance: John Erdman. Construction: George Titus. Videotape Editing: Nexus Productions. Administration: Art Becofsky, Martha Lohmeyer.

This productions was made possible in part by grants from: The National Endowment for the Arts, The New York State Council on the Arts, The Friends of Merce Cunningham, The Jerome Foundation. Videotaped at the Cunningham Studio, Westbeth, November, 1977, New York City. Copyright © 1978 Cunningham Dance Foundation, Inc.