‘They told Marconi, wireless was a phony’ so goes George Gershwin’s popular song celebrating Guiglielmo Marconi’s first successful Atlantic-crossing wireless transmission of 1901. This expectation defying achievement connecting the far edges of Cornwall to Canada ignited the wonder of audio, and later, audiovisual communication that in the recent global lockdown was so vital to building new patterns of creative connection.
In the new Marconi’s Leap project the science and art of wireless communication is explored at depth where interlinking captured and live choreographic experiments involving dance artists working in the geographies of that first transmission.
The development of Marconi’s wireless systems were conducted on and by water: from the windswept clifftops mentioned to Wales and Ireland, Newfoundland & the USA. A coastal connection sparked the collaboration between Jane Turner and Caroline Schanche who were both dancers in choreographer Rosemary Lee’s PASSAGE FOR PAR (2018) and who have evolved this project together.
Working somatically, at times in geographic proximity, at times using zoom – the collaborators work wirelessly in improvisation using the original science as ‘architecture’ but leading to new connections, story seams, meaning and pattern making. Considering how this is captured to enable further unfoldings warrants consideration that drives research based performative seminar events involving captured and live dance, narrative materials, science, and offering interactive opportunities towards widening intelligent networks of connection often at the edges. Rooted in a ‘community dance’ tradition that connects sensitively with environments, we explore ways to harness digital wireless systems, their histories, towards new connective architectures that are sensitive to the demands of climate crisis.
The Marconi’s Leap project weaves stories of international journeying, the outcomes of connection and enables new patterns of understanding between science, technologies, art and meaning making. Led by Jane Turner (London/East Anglia) in collaboration with dance artist Caroline Schanche (Cornwall), it has evolved with contribution from dancefilm artist Lisa Cochrane (Canada), and has been evolved with input from London Metropolitan University’s Professor of Microwave Communications, Bal Virdee, and UG students, C.A.S.T. studios, Helston, the Museum of Cornish Life, presentation feedback at Theatre and Performance Research Association (TaPRA) conference at the University of Essex ’22.
An interactive sci-art performative seminar engineering patterns of creative connection between synapses, bodies, film, stories, and continents.