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The IMAGINE Festival: Film, Technology, & The Body In Action

September 29, 2017 - October 1, 2017

DANCE LIKE NO ONE IS WHALE WATCHING, Emily Beattie & Eric Gunther.

The IMAGINE Festival: Film, Technology, & The Body In Action

Fall 2017

 September 29 – October 1

Earthdance Creative Living Project

252 Prospect Street

Plainfield, MA 01070



The IMAGINE Festival (IMAGINE) explores relationships between technology and the human body in action. The festival will include a weekend of film screenings, technology-based workshops, dialogue sessions, and installations throughout the Earthdance grounds. Multidisciplinary artists Emily Beattie and Cari Ann Shim Sham*, Ellen Chenoweth, Daphna Mero, and KT Niehoff are the inaugural IMAGINE Artists-in-Residence, experimenting with embodied and ecologically grounded approaches to technology over the course of their residencies. Immersive experiences, installations, and films from these residencies will be presented at the 3-day festival, along with films by Sarah Friedland and André Zachery, as well as workshops and other community events. Questions, celebrations, and criticisms around recent technological advancements and ways in which we utilize technology to strengthen or strain connections between people, communities, and the natural environment are experientially explored. IMAGINE is co-presented and co-produced by Earthdance and Dance Films Association, and is offered in collaboration with the Northampton Film Festival.
View the tiered pricing options to attend the Festival and buy tickets here. (Tickets are available on a sliding scale, with options to attend for an evening, a day, or the full weekend.) 
Learn more about the weekend’s programming below.
Featured image from Dance Like No One Is Whale Watching. Photo by Emily Beattie and Eric Gunther.

IMAGINE 2017 Artists-in Residence

Before We Flew Like Birds, We 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). Learn more


Bring your body and your phone to this embodied exploration of the Earthdance grounds, designed by Ellen Chenoweth. Escape is designed for anyone who has ever wanted to hurl their phone as far away as possible, anyone who checks their phone before going to the bathroom in the morning, and anyone who has been annoyed by the presence of a phone at a live performance. Can the cell phone, this instrument of compulsion and anxiety, be used as a device to pull us into slowness or tranquility?  Can we be more present with our bodies and with each other, as a result of our phones?  Could your phone be… whimsical? Learn more.

Dance Like No One Is Whale Watching

Dance Like No One is Whale Watching is an immersive experience and play space created to evoke the fantasy of life as an orca whale. The cosmically charged encounter is wrapped in a billowy inflatable and illuminated with visuals from the open ocean. Audiences’ speech is transformed into whale calls and woven into an ethereal soundtrack. Dance Like No One is Whale Watching offers an infusion of powerful empathy and magic as each group creates the story of their pod in realtime. The award-winning dream team behind Dance Like No One is Whale Watching includes video artist Cari Ann Shim Sham*, dance artist Emily Beattie, sound designer Eric Gunther, and architect Mary Hale. Learn more.

Selfiesism inside out and Selfiesism, a Dance Duet

The starting point for these experimental video works by Dapha Mero is the relatively new term “Selfie.” These video works will question the current use of Selfie, challenge it, break it, and recreate it, suggesting a new instruction manual. While the Selfie is usually a still, frontal picture of a face, which is meticulously chosen, the Selfie in these works was shot on video mode while the body is moving, thus adding to the Selfie: time, sound, and movement. The resulting image, free from conventional aesthetics, portrays a multidimensional self accompanied by site-specific and body-specific music. Learn more


Sarah Friedland: Home Exercises 

Home Exercises is a short dance film and hybrid documentary investigating the gestural habits and choreographies of aging individuals at home. Learn more.

André M. Zachery: Untamed Space 

Untamed Space was shot on location at the Weeksville Heritage Site in Brooklyn, NY and uses a timeless consideration on Afrofuturism to look at ways Black spaces have been created, have been lost, yet can begin again in Diaspora. Directed, choreographed, and edited by Renegade Performance Group artistic director André M. Zachery, it is shot in collaboration with cinematographer LaMont Hamilton. Learn more.

Tom Weksler: Shinrin-yoku 

Shinrin-yoku is a Japanese word which refers to taking a short trip or a visit to the forest. Literally, it means “Forest Bathing.” Shot on location at Earthdance, the film features dance and choreography by Mayumu Minakawa, video by Kenneth Kao, and music by Levi Gershkowitz and Julie Becker. Learn more.

Workshops and Discussions

Artists-in-Residence Conversation

IMAGINE Artists-in-Residence will talk about their artistic process working with new technologies, giving insight into their vision, current challenges, and artistic history. Knowledge will be shared about methods of working with new media as well as innovations in building installations and presenting immersive experiences.

Moving Portraits: Portable Projection Performance Experiments

In this workshop by Jeanine McCain, participants will use portable, handheld projectors to experiment with possibilities for projection surfaces and performance interactions. Small groups will work together to create short video pieces as a basis for live performance installations.

Contemplative Dance Practice

Join Contemplative Dance Practice (CDP), a participatory movement and meditation practice that explores embodied awareness. Created in the 1970’s by Naropa University’s Barbara Dilley, CDP is now practiced internationally. Colleen Bartley, who first learned the practice from Nancy Stark Smith in 2005 at Earthdance will lead this session.

Closing Contact Improvisational Jam with Camera

Earthdance has long been a national and international hub for the exploration and development of Contact Improvisation. For the close of IMAGINE, partake in a Contact Improvisation Jam guided by festival filmmakers that incorporates the camera as a partner. Special thanks to Northampton Community Television for providing cameras.

Collaborating Partner: Northampton Film Festival

Full festival pass-holders for IMAGINE receive complimentary tickets to the screening of Seconds: An Exhibition of International Super Shorts at the Northampton Film Festival (NFF). IMAGINE festival attendees are also invited to the NFF Exposing Next Realities exhibit, curated by the Public VR Lab on Saturday, September 30 at A.P.E. Ltd. Gallery in downtown Northampton. As part of this collaboration, NFF pass-holders may attend select IMAGINE programs free of charge. The Northampton Film Festival (NFF) was founded by Northampton Community Television (NCTV) in 2015 and takes place September 27 – October 1, 2017. NCTV is a community media center and public access TV station that provides the local community with equipment, training, and expertise. NFF brings international and local narrative films, documentaries, and shorts to Northampton, curated by a committee of media professionals and film lovers. In 2016, NFF partnered with Brookline Interactive Group to create The Public VR Lab, which features free virtual and augmented reality demos.

Presenting Partners:

Dance Films Association
Dance Films Association, Inc. (DFA) is dedicated to furthering the art of dance film. Connecting artists and organizations, fostering new works for new audiences, and sharing essential resources, DFA seeks to be a catalyst for innovation in and preservation of dance on camera. Currently, DFA is actively seeking to broaden its audience via new media initiatives and membership drives, to support cutting edge approaches to dance documentation, and to expand partnerships with schools, arts partners, media sites, and other institutions. Alongside the Dance on Camera Festival, DFA conducts year round programming such as the Dance Film Lab, Dance Films Presents, and Capturing Motion NYC and additionally acts as a Fiscal Sponsor and offers a Production Grant.
Earthdance Creative Living Project
Earthdance LogoEarthdance Creative Living Project is an artist-run workshop, residency, and retreat center located in the Berkshire hills of Western Massachusetts. We provide a dynamic mix of dance, somatic, and interdisciplinary arts training, with a focus on sustainable living, social justice, and community. Earthdance has been spearheading innovative arts programming, and maintaining a beautiful facility for rental groups in the Pioneer Valley for three decades. Our facilities include two large and sunny studios with maple floors, meeting space, meditation and massage rooms, 100 acres of woods, streams, trails and a wood-fired sauna. Earthdance is partially funded by the Massachusetts Cultural Council. earthdance.net


Earthdance Creative Living Project
252 Prospect Street
Plainfield, MA 01070 United States
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(413) 634-5678