Since 2000 Liz Aggiss’ work has been primarily concerned with the hybrid aesthetic of single screen dance practice. Screen dance as a relatively new interdisciplinary art form merges two distinct disciplines and languages, dance and film, in a two-way discussion manipulating each process to produce an innovative relationship. Disrupting and challenging such symbolic boundaries invites a different way of perceiving an alternative kind of inter-relational experience. Screen mediated bodies displace the centre of gravity for both performer and audience providing new research interfaces, and explore questions of inter-corporeality within this mixed reality environment.
Motion Control was produced with an Arts Council England / BBC Dance for Camera Award. This particular Dance for Camera Award arose from the BBC’s need to address the problems of presenting dance on television by inviting collaborative teams from the disciplines of film and dance to propose original ideas that were neither stage adaptations nor could be performed live. Motion Control is Aggiss/Cowie’s second commission from this prestigious and highly sought after ACE/BBC Dance for Camera Award (having made Beethoven in Love in 1994 for the first series). Selected and interviewed by a specialist panel Motion Control was one of six commissioned films to receive this award. Dance for Camera, now commonly referred to as screen dance, is a relatively new art form that has significantly gathered momentum.
Devised, choreographed, written, scored and performed by Liz Aggiss and Billy Cowie, Motion Control examines the synergy of camera and performer. The film is notable for hyper-sound Foley score overlaid with text and electro-opera. First broadcast on BBC2 3rd March 2002, Motion Control concerns itself with a dynamic partnership between computer operated Motion Control camera, and performer. This screen dance film tests the boundaries of dialogue between camera and performer, camera and space, camera and sound and has raised the profile internationally of screen dance from the UK and in particular from Brighton. It has received numerous international awards, worldwide screenings and has helped to locate South East Dance Agency as screen dance specialist organization.
Premiered at the Scientific Institute London on 30th January 2001, Motion Control, has most notably appeared at the following international film festivals; Ultima Oslo, 6/10/01, 10th Archipelago Festival Rome 31/5-7/06/02, TTV Rimini Italy 28/5-2/6/02, Videodance Thessaloniki 19/9/02, Sitges Film Festival 3/10-13/10/02, Toronto Moving Pictures 23/11-27/11/02, IMZ Monaco 10/12-14/12/02, 31st DFA New York11/1/03, Constellation Screen NFT London 14-16/3/03, St Petersburg Kinodance 21-28/3/03, 36th World FilmFest Houston USA 2003, Mediawaves Hungary 25/4-3/5/03, Edge Performance Festival, Chicago 23/10/03.
It was selected as part of the British Councils Forward Motion Worldwide Tour 2001-4 including; Japan, New Zealand, Brazil, Argentina, Australia, Macedonia, Korea, Vietnam, Latvia, Tunisia, Taiwan, Thailand, and was included in the prestigious Take 7 DVD curated by South East Dance Agency. Motion Control has provided iconic imagery to promote dance for camera internationally.
Awards for Motion Control include; Czech Crystal Golden Prague Television Award 2002, Honourable Mention Paula Citron Award Toront o 2002 , Special Jury Golden Award World FilmFest Houston 2003, Best Female Film Mediawaves Hungary 2003
Liz Aggiss instigated South East Dance Agency’s current screen dance specialism when she undertook the position of Acting Artistic Director in 1998-9. She is Chair of their Screen Dance Forum and commands respect within the national/international screen dance community giving Presentations/Performances; BBC Still Moving Conference 2001, IMZ International Screen Dance Festival 2005, American Dance Festival Durham University North Carolina USA 2006. She is considered a leading worldwide exponent of this developing art form and is a member of the prestigious IMZ jury for dance screen at The Hague Nov. 2007
The following publication features a visual and textural record and discourse on Motion Control; Anarchic Dance edited by Liz Aggiss and Billy Cowie with Ian Bramley Pub. Routledge ISBN 0-415-36517-1.
Liz Aggiss has stamped an indelible mark on the local and international dance film scene. Together with composer and co-director Billy Cowie she makes fiercely idiosyncratic dance-based work for live performance, film and multi media. Aggiss and Cowie's impression on the dance film excellence and innovation cannot be overestimated. Lizzy Le Quesne - Das Jahrbuch von Ballettanz - Tanzfilm Autumn 2005
The electric movements of the dancer and choreographer Liz Aggiss converted into a true audio-visual feast of widely ranging emotions. A superb cinematic experiment that starts out from the conventions of video-dance but manages to go beyond them through an intelligent use of editing, colour, sound and music. Sitges International Festival Programme Oct 2002
Motion Control is a stunner. The Globe and Mail Toronto Oct 22 2002.