OK, I can't say I've seen a lot of ballet or contemporary dance, but if I am to go, last night's performance is exactly my cup of tea: bODY_rEMIX/gOLDBERG_vARIATIONS by Compagnie Marie Chouinard.


The performance was a rumination on the nature of technological bodies, some of which were beautiful, and some grotesque. The dancers, all of whom were young, fit, lean, and flexible, moved in a way that evoked thoughts of Stelarc and Orlan birthing a bastard litter of lovechildren in a surgical clinic managed by Trent Reznor.

What is the relationship to sportsBabel, you may ask?

This isn't the first time I have made the link between fine art and sport. Bruce Grenville's The Uncanny was perhaps the moment that crystallized the idea of the cyborg athlete in my mind. Today's professional athletes — particularly in a league such as the NFL — are highly-technologized and, like some of Chouinard's dancers, are unable to survive if divorced from the technological apparatus for long. That said, the bODY_rEMIX collective illustrates that technology and beauty are not mutually exclusive; rather, technology may serve the purpose of manufacturing or revealing (to use Heidegger's words), and thus we should conceptualize the cyborg athlete in these terms.

The final scene, as I read it, serves as a warning, however. Nine of the dancers come out on stage in a line, eight with some prosthetic or ambulatory aid in hand. Nine suspension wires await. The eight dancers attach their technologies to a wire and depart, while the ninth dancer begins her final number at the centre of the line. As she dances in this spartan setting with its stark lighting, the wire slowly pulls her above the stage (into Heaven?). The eight pieces of technology remain behind, dangling, cold, silent. The end.

The effect was chilling.

As I have pointed out earlier, long after the organic disappears, our technologies live on. A cautionary note worth remembering as we plunge headlong into the unknown.

(Thanks for the tickets Regan!)


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