Matthew Moen is a senior in Gallatin with the concentration Creativity in the Digital Age. He is a practicing artist who has shown work at CultureHub, the Ruth Page Center for Dance, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Matthew is returning to the Gallatin Arts Festival after his piece “No Day Shall Erase You From the Memory of Time” premiered at GAF in 2015. In addition to choreography, Matthew is also a DJ under the name Skinny McToothpick and curator of The Nightcore Zine. He currently writes for the online publication NEST HQ and is an occasional contributor to PAPER Magazine’s blog.
Avatar_Dance.mov is a piece that explores the unique characteristics and limitations of digital bodies. I created a procedurally generated dance piece by sourcing movement from an online library that supplies stock animation for video games and then stitching these together within a 3D modeling software. Digital space provides seemingly limitless potential for dance by allowing the choreographer control of bodies entirely detached from physical constraints. The piece evolved into an exploration of how bodies are represented in open-ended, or sandbox, video games. I used a limited movement set as a score for a series of short dances. The piece can be thought of as an inversion of Bill T. Jones’s “Ghostcatching” in which motion capture technology was used to digitize dancers into massive projected wireframes. “avatar_dances.mov” poses an interesting question of how virtual spaces can be utilized by choreographers as a new platform for dance and how the medium as a whole can progress by moving outside the confines of the theater onto online.