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The Dance Spot was a two month long, accessible 24/7, interactive video installation by artist Tim Folkmann and produced by Mile Zero Dance, which ran March to May 2016. It was situated on the busy sidewalk in front of the Mile Zero Dance’s Spazio Performativo at 10816- 95 Street in Edmonton, AB.

A sign attached to a tree invited pedestrians to push a button and video record their dance. A large screen video TV placed in the window of Spazio Performativo video-mirrored their image. When the button was pushed, a short and random dance tune played. Moving lights came on and the person did what came naturally or unnaturally to them in the moment; they danced.

The result is silent, self-activated videos of those momentary events and spontaneous dances. These dances are shown here.

Artist statement by Tim Folkmann

“The Dance spot appeared quite honestly out of thin air. Gerry Morita and I were sitting looking out the window in the Mile Zero Studio space situated on a busy walking street in Edmonton. We were commenting on the rich flora and fauna of this amazing Community, the diversity of culture and the social demographics of the 95th street area.

The discussion became how to invite the public in. How to invite people who would never set a step in a dance space into a dance space. The answer became obvious … take the dance space to them. Thus, THE DANCE SPOT, a place where everyone can dance-anytime.

My past experience in interactive video design helped me come up with a simple safe all weather dance video set up. Using off the shelf security cameras and various event light triggers I was able to record up nine days of data 24 hours a day with the dances detected by time /motion data sensors.

So, when I envisioned this project I had no idea how successful it would be. I thought it was just a fun street event, a way to activate the streetscape but it has become so much more. Hours and hours more. As I began to review the video footage it became obvious by the number of dancers that people wanted to dance. Dance out of curiosity joy or trepidation, night or day young old rich or poor families or loners.

The Dance Spot is a mirror and a window. The cameras and recording apparatus is fully visible and obvious. The dancers image appears on the big screen TV. They can watch themselves… yet at the same time they are aware that someone maybe watching this sets up a public/ private dichotomy. The observer the observed, the performer the audience.

Many questions arose about the right to privacy security cameras our personal image verses public image, narcissism and stardom. But over all I found that the participants of the Dance spot had fun. You can see it on their faces, The Dance Spot surprised them. They surprised themselves. They surprised the people around them.

I am amazed at all the amazing gifts of dance people have given this project I am not mocking them or taking them out of context. I am showing them here as they are, beautiful, strange, funny uncomfortable and unique. The Dance Spot for a brief moment broke up the everyday of the street and made it new. This is their dance.

The dance of the passerby.”

Legalese

Mile Zero Dance Society is an incorporated not-for-profit society. These videos have been published for artistic purpose only, and are not intended to promote any of MZD’s commercial activities.

Any questions or concerns about The Dance Spot can be directed to mzdsociety@gmail.com.

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The Dance Spot was made possible thanks to our funders: