stream or download the film here

Dance Film

Curdled came out of a research stipendium funded by the Senate Berlin in 2011 to research dance and film. For this project I collaborated with Barbara Lubich as director of photography and dancer, Maria Scaroni during an artist residency at friedrichstadtZentral in Dresden. Together we covered and explored many topics relating to the female gaze to haptic perception.


I explored various mediums and written texts based on the theme of how women’s bodies’ were/are represented in dance and in contemporary visual art communication. Various texts were digested on the issue of “the gaze” and how the majority of the work produced is for the gainly experience of the male spectator. Various feminist artists have challenged this notion and continue to explore ways that empower the female subject and remove her from the objectification of the viewer. Although this was not the main objective, it was something I was searching for within the work. I chose to focus on the exploration of what I call ‘body scapes’. I set specific boundaries around how we would work to produce this intimate frame in which the flesh of the dancer is the limitation of the camera frame. I shot this with a wide-angle lens to produce a grainy textural effect of the skin. This artistic boundary determined the close-up nature of the shots as well as the consequence of the dance/choreography between the dancers and the cameraperson, which in turn enhances the intimate textural nature of the work. I was aiming to expose a textural sensuality that hopefully could be felt from the viewer as they watched, so that they themselves had a direct experience of the piece; a haptic experience.

Haptic experience:

In my initial notes I also studied and aimed to emulate the idea of a haptic visuality within the creation and development of the work. Haptic visuality is a “tactile” way of seeing and knowing which more directly involves the viewer’s body. The eyes of the viewer function metaphorically as organs of touch. As the camera does when working so closely with this intimate material.
A haptic perspective rests on the surface of the image rather than penetrating into it. It is sensed through and with the body, treating this other surface as another skin. Optical images, on the other hand, portray figures for a viewer to identify with, a space to exist in. Most media works are rarely completely haptic, but rather depend on the oscillation between haptic and optical visuality.

Haptic visuality does not depend on the viewer identifying with a recognizable figure/character but on a more sensuous bodily relationship between the viewer and the subject. Without representational mediation, the relationship between viewer and image is less one of viewer-engaging-object, than as a “dynamic subjectivity between looker and image.” The hap- tic image is “less complete,” requiring the viewer to contemplate the image as a material presence rather than an easily identifiable cog in a narrative wheel. By contrast, the optical image comes equipped with all the resources necessary to be complete, self-sufficient, and legible.

Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2000, 298 pp.

It was also interested in the challenge of making a one minute dance film and Curdled is the result of my exploration into body scapes and an approach toward a haptic experience.

Special thanks to: Carmen Mehnert at Hellerau Europäisches Zentrum der Künste and to all the friendly folk at friedrichstadtZentral in Dresden.