On the vertical wall inside the Buddha Gardens in Express Avenue, she walked, crawled and swayed like a crab spider. Dressed in a flowy white attire, she moved from one end of the 20 metre wall to another, catching the loosely hung elastic ropes. There was a rhythm to it — defined by the music that ran in the background. And slowly she merged with the video that was being screened.
Olivia Cubero was performing Cette Immense Intimité or This Huge Intimacy, in English. The event, presented by Alliance Française of Madras, Prakriti Foundation, The French Embassy in India, Institut Francais, Express Avenue and Region Pays de la Loire was created by Compagnie Retouramont, a choreography company based in France. The dance event was part of the Indo-French contemporary dance festival, Danse Dialogues 2014.
This was the first time many were witnessing a unique concept of live video transformation. A bunch of laptops and wires in the mosh pit controlled the video. As Olivia spread across the wall like a woof of smoke, a digital image of hers trailed along — all done live. It complemented her moves — sometimes as a mirror image, a magnified version or just a faint silhouette. They used a software called Méta-Mallette to bring out the linkage of dance and image. The event saw a packed crowd, with people trying to understand the act, which was novel and mystifying. There was pin-drop silence all through the performance, which narrated a story of longing, solitude, celebration and freedom. In the end, when she stood drowned in the bright yellow light, one couldn’t help but think of words like resurrection and divinity, for that fleeting moment.