'Doppelgänger' is a four screen stereoscopic video dance installation commissioned by Arts Council England and the New Art Gallery Walsall as part of the Capture 4 series. This series of production awards are made on a competitive tender basis and this is the third successive Capture Award for Aggiss and myself showing an unprecedented confidence in the originality and quality of our applications. It was installed at New Art Gallery Walsall 10th Feb – 23rd April 2006.
'Doppelgänger' seeks to develop the interdisciplinary work of the earlier Men in the Wall in three specific areas; gallery as site; nano-choreography; deep stereoscopic projection.
Firstly the work was shot entirely on location at the NAGW using its iconic architecture as a foil to the choreographed dancers, the site was thus embedded in the site itself. Secondly, the more conventional anaglyph stereoscopy of 'Men in the Wall' was replaced with a highly experimental and novel projected double image system, viewed with specially made prism glasses which give an unparalleled sense of depth to each of the four scenes. Lastly the work was not filmed with conventional video cameras but instead with high resolution digital still cameras – the resulting series of over 16000 still images were then painstakingly constructed into the four moving sequences. This filming technique allowed the choreographic process to be minutely crafted in 1/8th second slices, a form of nanochoreography where every nuance of movement and expression was constructed frame by frame. The work takes the form of four miniature psychodramas where the principal dancer is relentlessly plagiarised by the other performers (this in itself mirrored by the stereoscopic doubling of the images).
Like 'Men in the Wall', the siting of the work in an art gallery brought about new inner audience relationships to the work, (I was a member of the panel presentations on screen dance installation, ICA 22/2/04) empowering them each to view the work in their own unique fashion – this further enhanced by the out of phase looping of the four films providing a non repeating infinity of relationships between the four films and especially their hypersound tracks.
"The brochure describes this exhibition as a full colour, stereoscopic, dance-screen installation but believe me, that's not even the half of it. Think of it more as a shopping basket full of dance choreography, 3D spectacles, eight wall length video screens, the ladies toilets and there you have it, one of the latest exhibitions to grace the Walsall Art Gallery. The gallery alone is wonderful, it's as if it has just landed out of nowhere, a modern architectural beauty and coupled with an exhibition such as this, you can tell this Art Gallery is only going to progress further with more innovative works from visual artists, painters and sculptors alike."Liz Aggiss and Billy Cowie choreographed the exhibition, which focuses in representing the movement of one individual being reproduces by other character and creating something not unlike a slow music video. However, it's not that simple at all, the artists decided to present the movement in a sort of stop motion using stereoscopic cameras producing two almost identical images that when looked at with the right pair of spectacles turned into a 3D performance."
"Doppelgänger is an exhibition comprising four screens, showing people looking at art and at themselves. Each of the four images is presented in duplicate, to be viewed (optionally) through glasses that blend the images weirdly into one with an awkward 3d feel. The layered and swollen, stereoscopic image and flickery stop-motion effect (made from thousands of still photographs) heighten the artists' ungainly, staged style - as if a human being is always a faulty performance, a plastic projection of a certain belief or action.
"Doppelgänger exhibited at New Art Gallery Walsall until 23rd April takes the British artists' ongoing fascination with 2 and 3d appearances one step further, while rendering an innocent visit to the art gallery an absurd, confusing game of human assertions and denials. 'No, I never!' bleats one character into her mobile phone, while others reach for and arrange themselves in the mirror, or obediently bow down before the art on the walls."
(Review from 'Ballett Tanz International')