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AUDIENCE REVIEW: HOLOGRAM: A Dance Film That Asks Us To Rethink Our Virtual Selves
Nika Antuanette & Jeremy Cone
Now Streaming On YouTube
A purple, ghostlike figure begins to move on the black screen, its body overlaid with ticking binary code. The figure has the body and face of choreographer Nika Antuanette, yet we know it is not really her. She seems to be searching for something.
Then, brightly lit, skin warm in contrast to the hazy appearance of the other figure, the real Antuanette appears. She waves her hand – a timid yet curious gesture.
As the two Antuanette’s begin to slowly move together, mirroring each other’s movement, it is unclear who leads and who follows. They wear big grins on their faces, seemingly happy to be there. We hear the voice of musical artist Jeremy Cone: “Is this who I really am? Am I just a Hologram?” The two Antuanette’s begin to move with vibrant energy.
“Can I alter my program? Or am I a Hologram?” Antuanette appears to teach her Hologram the dance one step at a time. After each movement the Hologram enthusiastically follows along, imitating it back to her. Yet, the something isn’t quite right. Wherever Antuanette’s movement gives, the Hologram’s movement takes. Sometimes in explicit gestures and other times in energetic exchange. With each new download of movement information, the Hologram alters things slightly. An all-too-accurate depiction of the relationship many of us have to our virtual selves.
HOLOGRAM, the dance film released on December 30th, 2020 by Nika Antuanette and Jeremy Cone, puts movement and music to what we’ve all been feeling: A digital exhaustion. Especially now during the time of COVID-19, when the majority of our interactions are forced to be over the internet, it’s exceedingly clear that we’re reaching the point of content overload. Our current interplay with devices and social media is unsustainable, and we must rethink the balance.
Just like Antuanette and her Hologram, we know that our presence on the internet is not the real us, yet still the lines get blurred. Humans face the unusual identity crisis that comes with the territory of “internet personalities” and the need to always appear cool or put-together for virtual peers. And as we navigate our dance with the internet, it can be very easy to lose track of who is leading the duet.
We see all of this played out strikingly in HOLOGRAM, as Antuanette eventually reaches exhaustion, dancing on top a never-ending timeline of selfies, aesthetically photographed food porn, and envy-inducing travel photos. The music calls out, asking “Am I in too deep?” These days, many people would answer “yes” to this question, and we’re seeing waves of people making the choice to leave social media altogether to escape its all-consuming nature.
And what of Antuanette’s virtual counterpart? She keeps on, just as smiley as when she began. She flawlessly executes pirouette after pirouette ad nauseum. The piece ends with a blackout, and the echoes of Cone’s voice singing “Keep up!” over and over again. Perhaps we could take a cue from the editing and cut off our endlessly spinning digital selves before they run us into the ground. Well, after you check out this film, of course.
Watch HOLOGRAM here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0BJ8Ei0ttc&feature=youtu.be
Nika Antuanette & Jeremy Cone