KT Niehoff has been selected as one of four artists-in-residence for the inaugural IMAGINE Festival , presented by Dance Films Association (DFA) and Earthdance Creative Living Project in Massachusetts. After premiering Before We Flew Like Birds, We Flew Like Clouds to critical acclaim in Seattle as part of Velocity Dance Center’s Made In Seattle program, Niehoff re-conceptualizes the Flew Like Clouds universe as an immersive installation at the IMAGINE Festival in September, 2017, in the Berkshire hills of Western Massachusetts.
The festival’s setting on the historic Earthdance grounds, a space committed to sustainable community and a center for innovation in somatics and movement, resonates deeply with Niehoff’s history of community activation—from the founding and shaping of Velocity Dance Center to her current project, 10 degrees—and her rigorous investigation of the relationships humans have with their bodies. The week-long residency creates an incubator where Niehoff will interact with and respond to the Earthdance environment through the lens of Flew Like Clouds.
Niehoff’s residency culminates with the Flew Like Clouds installation, where the festival’s themes, “Film, Technology, and the Body in Action” all intersect. The installation’s design, by architect Cameron Irwin, incorporates floating star-like balloons and immersive columnar spaces which shape a dreamy environment for viewers to activate. The work uses virtual reality as an experiential component to highlight the forefront of the overlap between technology and film. Four films, created using new virtual reality technology developed by Jacob Fennell, take audiences into the lived experience of the work’s main characters: Soyeon Yi (astronaut), Maurice Hall (in-line speed skater), Shevanthi Daniel (near death experience survivor), and Michael Grady (para-rower).
All elements of the installation serve to explore the question that propels Flew Like Clouds: “What is it like to be in your body?” Within the context of the Earthdance community and augmented by the exploration of pioneering new film technology, Niehoff seeks to radically deepen the investigation of this question, and to reinvent and expand the world of Flew Like Clouds.
To experience the virtual reality films before the installation begins, download the Flew Like Clouds app, designed by Fennell, HERE.