Deaf Dancers Move to the Silence with Artist Sofia Mattioli
“I was on a train listening to music, getting deep into it, and this girl started staring at me,” says London-based artist and poet Sofia Mattioli of the genesis of her video for Jamie xx’s “Sleep Sound.” “After a while I took my headphones off and she came up to me, started signing and then wrote me a note to say that she was deaf but could almost feel the music by my movement.” With the germ of an idea from this chance encounter, Mattioli was asked to create a video for the member of The xx and Grammy-winning producer of Alicia Keys, Gil Scott-Heron and Drake. During the course of one day, she danced with 13 members of the Manchester Deaf Centre with ages ranging from five to 27 years old, who responded to the movement of the artist and the vibrations in the air given off by the song. “The relationship between silence and music is a big part of what I am trying to express with my work,” says Mattioli. “The first kid in the video, Archie, was bliss—all of them were amazing. I hope this is a project I can develop further.”
"Girl / Sleep Sound" is out May 5 on Young Turks.
The International Art Collective Enlists Benjamin Millepied for a Digitally Abstracted Performance
“I found that myself and Benjamin Millepied had a shared motivation for breaking conventions, being inventive with technologies and finding new ways to represent the human form,” says Universal Everything-founder Matt Pyke, introducing today’s audio-visual performance he created with the renowned French choreographer and founding director of the vanguard LA Dance Project. Entitled Presence, Pyke’s digital art studio’s latest collaboration explores the intersection of human movement and computer coding, creating a CGI graphic flourish. It’s a pulsating film with bursts of color—“alive with primal expressions of gestural drawing and choreography,” says Pyke. Universal Everything’s grand installations have appeared in London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and La Gaite Lyrique in Paris. The work is often partnered with sound composed by Matt’s brother Simon Pyke, as in today’s film, which forms part of the immersive, architectural installation Universal Everything & You, the inaugural exhibition of the London Science Museum’s new Media Space. “We had the dancers think about the multiple sculptures their bodies create as they move, and how these represent the music, the same rhythmic pulse,” explains Pyke of the way Nathan Makolandra and Julia Eichten reacted to the tribal-influenced electronic score as they were motion-captured for the piece. “There is a delicate balance in finding movements which feel alive, not synthetic. This point of tension is where the magic happens.”
Universal Everything & You runs at the Science Museum's Media Space, London from September 21 through February 7.
Willy Vanderperre Strips Bare the Belgian Rockers
“It was the first time really that we did something that was out of our hands,” says Colin H van Eeckhout, the lead vocalist of post-metal band Amenra, of working with Willy Vanderperre on today’s arresting video for their 13-minute track. “Normally I'm all over anything we do, so it was quite scary for us to just let go and trust someone, blindly.” “A Mon Âme” marks the second music video outing of the fashion photographer, who’s stark, uncanny style has graced campaigns for the likes of Christian Dior, Jil Sander and Raf Simons. The fellow Belgian approached the band after seeing them play live in Paris, and wanted to distill the intensity and power of their performance. “For the video, I wanted to be almost on their skin, very close in a hypnotic way,” says Vanderperre. Below he talks to NOWNESS about his foray into music.
What comes to mind when you listen to Amenra’s music?
Willy Vanderperre: The flat lands, my hometown, skin.
What was the starting point for the video?
WV: Growing up in the same area of Belgium as the band members—no one captures the vibe and the spirit of South West Flanders in music as they do. The sound transports me back there instantly.
What was it like working with These New Puritans for your first music video?
WV: What is great about These New Puritans is that they are a band not afraid of experimentation, they're constantly evolving. When we worked together on the artwork for the brilliant Fields of Reed album, we decided to shoot a video together.
Which artists are on constant rotation on your playlist?
WV: Amenra, Depeche Mode, Balthazar (another genius Belgian band) and Lubomyr Melnyk.