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Isabelle Choinière

(Montreal, Quebec, Canada)

Isabelle Choinière, La Mue de l'Ange, 1999
Isabelle Choinière et Le Corps Indice, Communion, 1995-1996 Isabelle Choinière, Communion, 1995-1996 Isabelle Choinière, La Mue de l'Ange, 1999
In 1994, Isabelle Choinière founded Le Corps Indice, a dance company dedicated to explorations in performance and new technologies. She has been an artist in residence at many institutions including the Fondation Danaé (Pouilly, France) and the Centre International de Création Vidéo (CICV) (Hérimoncourt, France). Her performances have been presented around the world at events such as the International Symposium of Electronic Art (1995), Synthèse 97 (Bourges, France) et le International Dance and Technology Conference (Dallas, Texas).

Under the aegis of Le Corps Indice, Choinière has produced three major performances on which she has worked as artistic director. These corporeal investigations into virtual sensuality deal with what Choinière terms "érotisme électronique" (1). A performance choreographed with technology in mind, Le Partage des peaux I (1994) uses motion and body rhythm capture to retrieve the body's data and transform it into video images and sound.

"Although it's definitely a stunning visual spectacle, this is not just techno art where the artists are playing with new technological tools to create fun effects. The concept at the centre of the performance is what these technologies do to our sense of our bodies. In an abstract sense, the dancer shares her skin with her virtual sister and her reproduction on the wall. The screen, the major focal point of contemporary culture, represents these 'artificial skins' that the dancer shares." (2)

The second version of this piece, titled Communion (Le Partage des peaux II) (1995-1996), is a more precise and experimental performance that has garnered much success and acclaim around the world.

With a very minimal aesthetics (no big machinery seen on stage), Isabelle Choinière deals with the actual and the virtual body in an electronic life ritual. Choinière raises in a 30-minute performance, the issues of the limits of the skin, of the self, of the internal and the external. If Stelarc connects the body to the machine - organic and silicon parts trapped into cables, putting the internal body to the outside - Choinière frees the cyborg and proposes an expanded and extended body, hollow and dense, a feminine principle to the new world.(3)

Communion has been performed in Denmark, France, the Canary Islands, Brazil, Chile, Germany, Canada, the United States and elsewhere around the world. The piece exemplifies Choinière's devotion to affirming the body in an age of machines and potential anonymity.

Angela Plohman © 2000 FDL

(1) Isabelle Choinière, Communion, project proposal, 1997.

(2) Maria Lundin, "Dancing with your virtual siste", McGill Daily vol. 84, no 7 ( September 22 1994) : 5, 9.

(3) Annick Bureaud, "Conference review : ISEA 95", Leonardo Electronic Almanac vol.3, no 11 (nov. 1995) : n.p.