By Domino Rosa
There has begun a new trend in many new arts forms, that involves the act of multimedia and technology playing an important role in the performance experience. For some it plays a more active role, literally. LaJuné McMillian is one person whose making strides in this area of performance. What LaJuné does, is take the same technology used for motion capture and creates images, both live and CGI, that help to tell the narrative or ask the questions she wants the audience.
I recently saw her at the LALA Festival, and she talked a few of her pieces and current projects. One, Aethereal, explores how movement devolves to the simplest for, and then that images is captured and are switched in as water, fire, earth, and air. This created a very interesting and beauty to the elements, that showcased them with a liveliness; a sort of natural beauty that kind of has a mind of its own. Some of her other pieces explored that nature of growth. In this one she looks at a baby picture of her and tries to navigate the journey that leads from one image to another. These in conjunction with the projections and movement creates an unsettling longevity into what not truly known. What all the pieces had in common where that they worked to understand the human condition and how a body resonates in a perfect space versus a chaotic space.
This work is extremely beautiful in a way and frightening in others because of what is unknown. And LaJuné explained that of one of her pieces she had to stop because she wasn’t completely prepared for what it costs. Therefore, she started another project to do so and then returned with a new enlightenment toward her bodies resonance in a past or unknown space. This, for me, showed the importance of interdisciplinary art and how one builds and enhances another. Because when I was sitting in the Q&A with her she spoke to the importance of being not only aware, but somehow active in all interest. Because a versatile artist is a smart artist, and smart artist make smart art. Which is extremely present in LaJuné’s work.
One thing she did that I found extremely thought provoking was she had everyone break into two groups and then they had to come up with a movement that is foreign to them and they have not done before knowingly, and show how it resonates in a space that is suffering. One group came up with a sort of hunched sigh. And their reasoning was because they said the breath holds the weight of the emotion; therefore, in the suffering space it would be a light, but gravity filled release. Which took me back to a clip form her piece Aethereal, about eh filling and releasing each element had, which gave it life, but also is layered with the actual emotion of the person in the motion capture.
This is work that I think is important, and got me thinking more about how my body, as an actor, activist, sibling, son, etc. resonates in certain spaces, and then, how a character I’d play would resonate. Because the body tells the truth about how an environment is. Like the breath it is the core of emotion and truth. I can’t wait to see what else LaJuné brings to fruition and how that will translate into the future of art.
Domino D’Lorion Rosa is a member of the UMN/Guthrie Theatre, BFA-Acting Program Class of 19′ and the Head of Marketing & Assistant Photographer at Super Dope&Extra Lit Magazine.
Photo Credit: Missy Simon Photography