Biped (1999)

BIPED provides the ever-shifting visual decor for Merce Cunningham’s dance of the same name. It is widely considered to have been a breakthrough in the integration of dance and technology.

BIPED is an extended digital animation created to serve as the visual decor for a 45-minute dance of the same name choreographed by Merce Cunningham and performed by his company. The sequences of animation vary from 10 seconds to 4 minutes, totaling 27 minutes; they run discontinuously through the performance.

The movements are largely derived from motion-captured phrases from the choreography, which drive abstracted images of hand-drawn dancers moving through spare and evocative spaces.

BIPED is perhaps the most widely seen of any Cunningham dance; it has been performed numerous times throughout the world (see venues.)

In performance, the imagery is projected on a huge transparent scrim covering the front of a large proscenium stage, giving the illusion that it floats in front of and among the live dancers behind it.

BIPED has also been exhibited as a stand-alone installation, with huge projections on a large wall, and accompanied by the Gavin Bryars score for the original dance.