Cowie, Billy (2006) Doppelganger New Art Gallery, Walsall, Walsall, UK.
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'Doppelgänger' is a four-screen stereoscopic dance installation jointly commissioned by the New Art Gallery Walsall (NAGW) with the Arts Council England (£15k), as part of its Capture 4 series. Cowie’s research built on the interdisciplinary work of the earlier 'Men in the Wall' in three specific areas; gallery as site; nano-choreography; deep stereoscopic projection. The resultant work, sited in an art gallery, was designed to create new inter-audience relationships to the work, empowering each spectator to view the work in their own unique fashion. This was 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 hyper-sound tracks. Conceived by Cowie and collaborator Aggiss, this dance installation introduced a number of innovations in the field. 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. The more conventional anaglyph stereoscopy of 'Men in the Wall' was replaced with an experimental and novel projected double-image system, viewed with specially-made prism glasses that give an unparalleled sense of depth to each of the four scenes. The use of high resolution digital still cameras rather than conventional video technology offered new challenges – the resulting series of over 16,000 still images were meticulously 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 nano-choreography where every nuance of movement and expression was constructed frame by frame. The performance 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).
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