Design, Form, Light and Movement


Vahri Mckenzie

Document Type

Original Creative Work


Faculty of Regional and Professional Studies


ECU South West Research Centre




Background: With dancer Hellen Russo I created site-specific work as part of a Strutdance/Artrage Co/Lab focusing on the role of lighting design in dance works. Our work asks what the connection is between urban light and the surveillance gaze; how can work illustrate the invasiveness of surveillance technologies on the urban subject; how can urban lighting conditions affect the performance outcome? The performance situates lighting conditions as fundamental players in the dance work.

Contribution: Our contribution to Design, Form, Light, Movement juxtaposed the pervasiveness of surveillance technologies with the vulnerability of the state of sleep. Casting surveillance technology as a ‘performer’ in the dance is unique in the performing arts and addressed the brief because CCTV cameras both emit LED light and capture natural light. So the performance operated at two documented levels: the performance captured by Strutdance, and that captured by the CCTV cameras, both used in future iterations of the work. Working in the urban environment offered a set of constraints that challenged us to incorporate unplanned events and prosaic spaces into our work.

Significance: This work was a development stage in a significant body of work involving international artists and prestigious organization. Collaborator Russo and I were invited to participate in Helen Herbertson and Ben Cobham’s Co/Lab in partnership with Artrage documented by Strutdance. Herbertson and Cobham are a critically acclaimed choreography and design team of international significance.

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