A glaring purple light illuminates a dancer on the barren floor of On the Boards studio in Lower Queen Anne. His limbs stretch and pull, body contorting and expanding as he shifts between supine and upright, from sharp to fluid in a moment. A projector blasts kaleidoscopic images onto his skin, turning his squirming figure into a living canvas of splotchy blue and yellow light. Six other dancers wait to enter the stage and engage with the solo dancer, their bodies lying depleted and motionless, piled on the floor. The room hums with guitar notes distorted until almost unrecognizable, making the air heavy with echoes.
This worldly performance is a work in progress by Faunix, a multimedia art company that combine movement, visuals and sound to mesmeric experience. open studio performance aticJuly of this yearing
aims to make fine art an accessible,social experience akin to attending a concert. The open studio was a durational piece, where the audience was encouraged to come and go as they pleased over the course of three hours. “We never want the audience to feel separated from us,” Miller explain. “We want them to be a part of our world.”
Miller, born and raised in Redmond, has studied dance since the age of three. Growing up in the world of competitive dancing, felt like an outcast for identifying as an artislearned to express herself musicsinging and composingand visual artpainting, sculpture, film
he returned from New York2014to recover from a spinal injury. Instead she quickly became enamored with the Seattle art scene and culture, gratefully overwhelmed with the possibility to create.“It just felt like the right place,” Miller sa. “Why would I leave this really positive, enthusiastic community where I have the ability as a young artist to do these large scale works?”
Miller Corwin, seven dance collaborators—Elizabeth Corwin, Amy Johnson, Claire Mitchell, Hannah Reistma, Stacy Brenner, Sean Tomerlin and Kim Holloway— film/dance collaborator Hilary Grumman,drawn to Travis Miller’s “little bit left of center” aesthetic
Milleris heavily influenced by Gaga, a “movement language” developed by Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin. The movement is sensation-based, guided by imagery and concepts rather than a commitment to certain steps or poses. Faunix dancers combine this freedom with the more structured techniques of ballet and modern dance. Corwin psycho-acoustic soundscapeFaunix combines this audio and dance with vocaland projected images (sometimes set on a loop, sometimes controlled live by digital media collaborator Bryon Carr) to develop a controlled chaos, a mix of planned and improvised art.
“It’s all about respect and trust,” Corwin says. “It’s this process of discovery that you and the audience are experiencing togetherThere’s no real risk of playing something that feels dishonest or forced.”
Whatever inspires the ensemble next, the company’s aesthetic will remain the same as Miller and Corwin move towards creating ever-more interactive art experiences. The two directors aim to build installations that encourage audience members to roam, and choose the angle from which they view the performance. There is even talk of involving computer programmers and the motion-sensing Xbox Kinect, so that projections may follow the cues of dancers or audience members.
While they wait on securing grants or residencies for their spring installation, Miller will continue to teach an open-level movement strategy class at Velocity, for which Corwin plays musical accompaniment. The class follows many of the same principles of Faunix: teach dancers how to generate their own movement, using solid technique as a blank canvas.
“The idea is that dance is meant for everyone—all ages, all skill levels, all bodies,” Miller sa. “We think that art is for everyone.”