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Monstrous encounters


Lois. Monstrous encounters (2022)
CGI world + avatars (MoCap live stream data)

Created at Goldsmiths Mocap Streamer residency, this project stands as a collaboration involving dancers: Bekka Heathcote (UK), Florinda Camilleri (MT), and Lena Wolfe (NYC). Through the usage of motion capture suits, their live performances are transformed into projected avatars, streaming in real-time.
The culmination of this live remote MoCap dance performance occurred in November 2022, shown to audiences both at Goldsmiths (LDN) and online as during the residency's showcase event.

The project examines underground spaces as realms of the monstrous but also as shelters. In these places, away from the human-centric overground layer, one might discover the realm of the more-than-humans – mutants, monsters, and ghosts.

The realm of the monstrous in this project is inspired by Lois Jessup's account of a fictional-factual encounter with humanoid life forms in a Maltese Neolithic burial site (The Hypogeum) and the site's shapeshifting via deterioration through humidity, light damage, CO2, and other environmental factors. As far as humans are concerned, these attributes lead to deterioration, but the unearthing of sites means also that lichen, mould, and other living microorganisms have new space within which to grow.



In Lois' story, she follows the passages of the Hypogeum, goes further than her friends, and encounters albino humanoid beings walking along a ledge of a vast underground cave. These beings had the power to control the wind, which they use to blow out her candle. The moment of encounter with more-than-human beings in this story became the starting point for the development of dance. The dancers all considered their relationship to underground spaces and embodied an avatar that each reflected those relationships. The light-dark cycle and the textures in the virtual world of the work reflect the story, but they also suggest the cyclical alteration between the underground and the overground.

The dance performance occurs at the moment when human and more-than-human life forms leave the underground, encounter the Primary World and one another. The monstrous self and the monstrous others experience inner and outer transformation of their body-mind states, questioning how to share experiences and relate to one another after a period of isolating transformation and disconnection from the Primary world. Can some experiences be explained / related to at all? And whose voices are believed and considered valid?

Letta Shtohryn CGI world, conceptualisation, virtual camera, editing, visual coding
Florinda Camilleri Dramaturgy
Florinda Camilleri, Bekka Heathcote, Lena Wolfe Live Motion Capture

The residency was commissioned by Goldsmiths MoCap streamer
Support and Partners of the residency:
Arts and Humanities Resea
rch Council (UK) , Goldsmiths (University of London)
NOITOM , Target3D , Akram Khan Company, Alexander Whitley 

Performance excerpt 02'35''

Full performance 10'05'' (Remote Mocap Live stream from UK + NYC > MT)

W/ Lena Wolfe (NYC), Florinda Camilleri(MT) and Bekka Heathcote (UK)

Residency showcase
Performance excerpt 03'13''
Full performance 10'05''
livestreamed from Florinda Camilleri (MT) + Bekka Heathcote (UK)

> to Goldsmiths, University of London (UK) exhibitions space - > online

© Letta Shtohryn 2023
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