Loop Atlas

Loop Atlas (video still)

Loop Atlas (2017-2018)

Loop Atlas is a solo installation performance by Matthias Sperling, commissioned by Siobhan Davies Dance as part of the group exhibition material/ rearranged/ to/ be (2017).

Loop Atlas works with a choreographic task that Sperling calls ‘looping’: rhythmically repeating a cyclical movement, while at the same time almost imperceptibly allowing the movement to gradually change. Looping aims to work at the border between visible repetition and visible difference, sustaining the presence of a single movement over time while also embodying a continual process of incremental change.

With both seriousness and playful humour, this task proceeds from the scientific notion of the brain-body as a ‘prediction machine’, to consider the possibility of performing choreography as a kind of conjuring — seeking knowledge of the unknown through movement. Sperling performs this task sometimes on his own and also using video to multiply the interactions between movement loops, by live-capturing short passages of movement and projecting them onto one another to create images within images.

The ‘Atlas’ of the work’s title refers to art-historian Aby Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas, which was a conceptual starting point shared by the different artists contributing works to material/ rearranged/ to/ be. Whereas Warburg’s Atlas constellates still images of movements/gestures together, Loop Atlas constellates live choreographic gestures with one another over time. The work’s use of live-captured video amplifies its creation of choreographic relationships between different moments in time, hovering in an intermediate space between movement and image-of-movement, the live and the recorded, the always-changing and the fixed.

Loop Atlas consists of a series of several different iterations of its constituent parts, presented in combination and/or singly:

Loop Atlas I : Performance with live-capture video and looped vocal sound

Loop Atlas II : Performance

Loop Atlas III : Video loop

Loop Atlas IV : Video loop, with headphones and audio recording inviting audiences to watch and join in the choreographic task

Concept, creation and performance: Matthias Sperling

AV design and programming: Rob Prouse

Commissioned by Siobhan Davies Dance

Performances: Barbican Curve Gallery (London, UK), 20-28 January 2017; Tramway (Glasgow, UK), 21-30 April 2017; Whitworth Art Gallery (Manchester, UK), 6-14 May 2017; The Bluecoat (Liverpool, UK), 1-9 July 2017; The Gallery, De Montfort University (Leicester, UK), 19 May - 3 June 2018.