One of my most important sources of inspiration is Antonin Artaud, a poet, playwright and visionary who wrote a brilliant and influential collection of manifestos called The Theatre and its Double.  In his extensive writings he conceived a form of drama that would transform the audience through total emotional and physical involvement.  He felt that once theatre was freed from the control of text, it would become an extension of oral / verbal expression beyond words.

Three years ago I began to teach an experimental course at the National Theatre School of Canada, in which the students create theatre from music.  We begin this work by using music in the traditional role of text, and then we add layers of other elements—lighting, visual environment, movement and props—during an intensive workshop and rehearsal period before the performance.  Each element of the piece is treated as a “character”:  an integral element of the performance.  The music functions as a foundation for the other elements.

The approach used in this experimental course has led me to create various forms of interdisciplinary work, including  Body Weather, the working title of a multidisciplinary piece (currently in the early stages of development) and, most recently, a film project.


  Powerlines (in progress) is the title of my film project—a 16mm, 50-min experimental documentary film.  The theme of the film is the deterioration of the environment caused by electromagnetic pollution and is based on my perceptions and experience of electromagnetism.  Electromagnetic pollution can be understood to be caused by out-of-phase electrical oscillations, or incoherent energy systems.  As many North American cities are in the process of falling into their crumbling Victorian networks of sewers, the environment is being flooded with electromagnetic radiation of most wavelengths and with varying degrees of coherence, with more and more demands being made for frequency allocations in the already densely overcrowded electromagnetic spectrum. (Fig.7) I am researching the implications of this process in close consultation with Dr. Andrew Michrowski, a Canadian scientist who specializes in issues of electromagnetic pollution [8].

  Powerlines integrates documentary images of power lines, power generators and transformer stations with images that I have created and transformed with Amiga-based computer imaging systems.

The film is built around a dancer who describes in movement her personal response to the environment and who interacts with the electromagnetic fields.  Her minimal, expressionistic movements are influenced by Butoh, a dance form that emerged in post-World War II Japan and that expresses in movement the devastating effects of the atomic bomb.  Her interaction with electromagnetic fields will be filmed in a room with video display terminals.  There will be close attention to lighting, and the room will be misted with water vapour to make the radiation from the video display terminals visible.  The sounds of the electromagnetic fields and the interaction of the fields with the human body will be made audible with the use of a device, created by Michrowski, that registers and amplifies sounds in the electromagnetic spectrum.  This will reveal sounds such as those from radar installations and the microwave landing patterns of planes.

Fig. 7.  This cross-section of the electromagnetic spectrum [10] shows the frequency bands and wavelengths allocated for communication.  Powerlines includes sounds from the spectrum of audio signals to the spectrum of microwave relays.