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The hands of the dancer

Mutek Festival
Publication Date
  • Computer Science
  • Mathematics
  • Musicology
  • Physics


'The hands of the dancer" is a 21 minute HD sound and video piece that focuses on the temporal experience of audiovisual composition and takes lucid dreaming as inspiration. It was created by Freida Abtan with footage of Andrea Fryett, Olivia Li, and David Drury. The video explores the multiple ways that movement and form can be abstracted through surface and temporal manipulation. The narrative evokes a dreamscape in which characters exchange identity and develop through physical transformation. The sounds and images depicted are inspired by traditional baladi form and are meant to evoke a state in which bodily gestures convey secret meanings that need not resort to language. Abtan’s sound work descends from formal electroacoustic composition strategies and from the great body of experimental electronic music that concentrates on the exploration of the spectral properties of sound. She primarily works with samples of both musical and non-musical objects that she records herself and then manipulates, often beyond recognition, through techniques derived from musique concrete and through successive layers of digital signal processing. Freida uses structures reminiscent of popular music and more abstract compositional variants to sequence these sounds into melodic songs before incorporating her own treated voice.

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