Before We Flew Like Birds, We Flew Like Clouds
Before We Flew Like Birds, We Flew Like Clouds premiered to critical acclaim this March as part of Velocity Dance Center’s Made In Seattle program. KT Niehoff now re-conceptualizes the Flew Like Clouds universe as an immersive installation at the IMAGINE Festival. The festival’s setting on the historic Earthdance grounds resonates deeply with Niehoff’s history of community activation—from the founding and shaping of Velocity Dance Center to her current project, 10 degrees—and her rigorous investigation of the relationships humans have with their bodies. The week-long residency creates an incubator where Niehoff will interact with and respond to the Earthdance environment through the lens of Flew Like Clouds.
The festival’s themes, “Film, Technology, and the Body in Action” all intersect in Flew Like Clouds. The installation’s design, by architect Cameron Irwin, incorporates floating star-like balloons and immersive columnar spaces which shape a dreamy environment for viewers to activate. The work uses virtual reality as an experiential component to highlight the forefront of the overlap between technology and film. Four films, created using new virtual reality technology developed by Jacob Fennell, take audiences into the lived experience of the work’s main characters: Soyeon Yi (astronaut), Maurice Hall (in-line speed skater), Shevanthi Daniel (near death experience survivor), and Michael Grady (para-rower).
All elements of the installation serve to explore the question that propels Flew Like Clouds: “What is it like to be in your body?” Within the context of the Earthdance community and augmented by the exploration of pioneering new film technology, Niehoff seeks to radically deepen the investigation of this question, and to reinvent and expand the world of Flew Like Clouds.
To experience the virtual reality films before the installation begins, download the Flew Like Clouds app, designed by Fennell, HERE.
Watch a timelapse of the set installation HERE.
KT Niehoff is an artist who creates and activates installations and spaces. Her focus is the complex relationship of how humans impact their environments and how these environments, in turn, impact humans. From a young age, she trained as a classical choral singer, and later received her BFA at NYU’s Experimental Theater Wing. This fostered her ability to integrate multiple artistic disciplines to create new forms and practices. Her training as a dancer activated her proprioceptive understanding and gave her a professional vocabulary for this lived experience.
Throughout her career, KT has created nine evening length-works that have toured performance venues and colleges throughout the US and in Japan, Canada, Germany, and Ecuador. As an educator, KT has built three pedagogical systems that she has taught and refined for 20 years: Reinvent Your Eye, Tools for Abstract Composition, Physical Practice, a daily training class for professional dancer and her dance/film workshop Frame by Frame. She has taught at numerous festivals and universities and received many fellowships, awards, and grants. For a complete list and to read more about KT see: ktniehoff.com
Cameron Irwin is an Associate at LMN Architects and a member of the fabrication and design collective, TCG. Locally, he has created set designs with the Washington Ensemble Theatre, Seattle Art Museum, On the Boards, and Tectonic Marrow Society, among others. His architectural experience includes commercial, multi-family residential, convention center, and performing arts projects. He is formerly the Resident Scenic Designer at the Washington Ensemble theater, where he currently serves as a board member.
Jacob Fennell is an artist, software developer, and educator with an emphasis on virtual reality and interactive installation art. Fennell holds an MFA in Visual Studies from the Pacific Northwest College of Art, and has taught classes in game design, video and sound, and animation at Cornish College of the Arts and the Pacific Northwest College of Art. Fennell has been building spherical video solutions since 2012.
IMAGINE Festival Residency