read more – Choreography for the Scanner

Choreography for the Scanner


excerpts: international journals, articles, and reviews

“This film creates unlikely partnerships between moving frames and paper images to explore a range of important questions related to memory and perception of dance, how dance is created, and who or what is dancing. Eqbal, acts as a Muybridge for our times, exploring not only how movements may be generated through contemporary image technologies, but also, what occurs between the frames. Choreography for the Scanner is a work engaged with the multiple histories of film, dance, and visual practices . . . whilst creating a new aesthetic experience of dance film that requires no prior knowledge of the genre to appreciate it. Choreography for the Scanner is a daring movie and its innovative concept shines through. . . . [W]ith skillful direction, the filmmaker creates a dance that prescinds the body of a dancer in movement. She makes use of static images of a ballerina to create a dance based on the illusion of movement in-between frames…and makes a ‘glitch dance’ emerge that is only possible on the screen.” — Short Film Winners of LIFF29- in Hull | Leeds International Film Festival

“Eqbal’s Choreography for the Scanner, referencing Muybridge’s motion studies, won the Jury’s prize in the 2015 International Screendance Competition at the Leeds International Film Festival (LIFF) in the United Kingdom. Its appearance and winning status at a renowned screendance festival raised a lot of controversy regarding first of all, the categorization of this work as screendance. Many have questioned if it is screendance and if it should compete against other works recognized as screendance. Others have doubted if what is portrayed on the screen is actual dance. However, on this occasion I will eschew discussion about where this work could fit (which is outside the scope of this paper) and I will concentrate on what kind of conventions this work challenges in relationship to our view of the female body as aesthetically pleasing. What could suggest the dysmorphic and hollowed but extended female body depicted in front of the grey background of the screen? What kind of corporeal reconfigurations does the grey ‘no-place’ permit?” — Ariadne Mikou

“Choreography for the Scanner,” a film constructed using a still image and a flatbed scanner, creating a simple choreography through repetition, referencing early photographic and cinematic explorations of moving bodies. Eqbal’s choreography takes place ‘between your ears’: that the connection between her activity and the idea of ‘dance’ takes place in our minds, rather than before our eyes?” — Kyra Norman

“…the Jury’s favorite, “Choreography for the Scanner,” directed by Mariam Eqbal (USA), which features an animation of a distorted scanned image of a ballet dancer. But is it dance? That’s the big question right? The choice causes some surprise in the audience and one person expresses their dismay on Facebook (eliciting an amusingly extensive reply from the Jury2). This reminds me of people complaining that there’s not enough dancing in the Place Prize.3 Both cases come down to the question of whether these are dancing or dance-making or choreography competitions. If an animation wins then I guess it’s choreography but by using an image that is perhaps most emblematic of dance to a predominantly white European audience it seems to lose its nerve as if to still be in with a chance. If we say that to dance requires an intention and self awareness then an animated picture of a dancer isn’t dancing any more or any less than an animated picture of a corpse or a tree or a triangle. But arguably you can still make a dance with things that aren’t dancing and an animated human certainly feels more like a dance.” — Hamish MacPherson