Conceived, created and performed by OMTA and LeeSaar The Company
with special guests, live music and open bar
Do not turn off your cell phone. Do walk, talk, laugh and drink during the performance. Get ready for a CLOSE-UP.
“We are not interested in a one sided relationship with the viewers where they remain passive, as viewers that pass by. In this age of information and technology the crowds are no longer passive, they are active participants.”—declare new media artists Omer and Tal Golan of OMTA. The duo of Israeli-born, NYC-based creators has been experimenting with their unique mix of live performance and medially transformed imagery, often exploring the notion of self-awareness and self-image in the media-saturated contemporary world. Now, in their first collaboration with acclaimed choreographers Saar Harari and Lee Sher and dancers of LeeSaar The Company, they create an ever-changing environment that combines live dance, theater and music with interactive video and audio recorded, mixed and projected in real time. Transcending a black-box theater experience, CLOSE UP invites visitors to dive into the performance and participate in what is happening not as passive audiences, but as co-creators. CLOSE UP is the first multimedia collaboration for LeeSaar The Company, known for their lush productions and highly sensual sensibility. “We have been trying to work with video for a long time but didn’t find the right artistic collaborators,” — says Saar Harari. “Working with video creates new possibilities for extending our exploration of what dance could be in the space — especially if the whole environment, not only dancers, seems to be alive. In such setting, even movement that is initially very simple from the standpoint of choreography can be amplified into a new dimension.”
In CLOSE UP, the technology meets live performing arts. The elaborate high-tech setup (consisting of OMTA-coded custom software, motion sensors, multiple cameras around the space and large-scale interactive projections that encompass the audience) is a backbone of what eventually becomes a celebration of sensual presence. Unlike other immersive works seen in NYC recently, this one is not limited by a specific space marked by history nor connected to a single, linear narrative. Open-ended and unscripted, CLOSE UP is all about possibilities. The sensory input is there to allow the audience to experience the space, the dancers, the visuals, the music, the chatter of the crowd – and eventually, the groove of their own bodies.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
What makes the project artistically and conceptually unique is the quality of its components, contributed by acclaimed creatives of diverse backgrounds and approaches. The impulse that put this ambitious endeavor in motion originated with OMTA —Omer and Tal Golan. Described by HAARETZ’s Ido Kenan as “creators of art that hackers might hack (and one even tried),” the husband-and-wife team create what they call interdisciplinary art, often existing between fields and connecting idioms and techniques of seemingly disconnected realms. A typical product of such approach was Plant a Comment, commissioned by Google to be the first-ever artwork presented on the company’s immersive Liquid Galaxy display. Conceived by OMTA and created in collaboration with a hacker, an information scientist, and a musician, the work — initially presented at the biggest art fair in the Middle East — Fresh Paint #5 — displayed audience-generated text or web messages in the shape of virtual tree-like plants, animated and displayed in real time as an interactive 3D environment. (The work is currently part of the permanent exhibition at The Bloomfield Science Museum in Jerusalem.) Since moving to NYC in 2013, OMTA co-founders collaborated with local artists such as the acclaimed playwright Meron Langsner, a performance artist Azumi Oe, musicians Nadav Lev Yula Beeri, and Khen Price. Their work was presented internationally and in the United States, including 2014 NYC International Fringe Festival, De-construkt Projekts Gallery, 14St Y Theater, The Art Gallery (TAG), The Center for Fine and Performing Arts of West Florida and The Hive NYC. For more information, visit http://omta.co.
LeeSaar The Company – “a gutsy, brainy modern-dance troupe” (NY Times) was established in Israel in 2000 by the choreographer, actress and writer Lee Sher and dancer/choreographer Saar Harari. Using techniques from different veins of theater and dance (Including GAGA, which is one of the company’s foremost tools), LeeSaar create fluid, sensual, visually rich and emotionally stirring original dance performances. In 2004 the company moved to NYC, where it is currently based. Since their inception, the group created nine evening-long works. Their most recent pieces – Grass and Jackals and Princess Crocodile — have been presented to great acclaim and sold-out houses at the Joyce Theater, American Dance Festival, Baryshnikov Art Center, and recently at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, and have been touring internationally. For their work LeeSaar The Company has been awarded many grants and accolades, including The Guggenheim Fellowship and the NYFA grants. In 2012 they have been nominated for a Bessie – known as “an Oscar of dance” – for the piece called FAME. The members of the company come from, Taiwan, Korea the United States and Israel. For more information, visit http://www.leesaar.com.
Nadav Lev is an alumnus of Manhattan School of Music and one of the most eminent guitar instrumentalist of his generation. The outstanding diversity of his musical interests propels him to often break barriers between traditions and musical languages. He has been performing a wide array of repertoire (from classical to rock to jazz and improvised music classical and jazz) throughout the United States, Israel and Europe, appearing in prestigious venues such as New York City’s Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and Merkin Hall. An Andrés Segovia Award winner, he was hailed by Classical Guitar Magazine as “a talented and engagingly musical performer … his stage presence is entirely gracious and personable.” No stranger to collaborations with performing artist, Nadav has composed and performed music for theatrical productions while studying music in his native Israel. One of the multidisciplinary projects he has been involved with was THE NIGHTWATCHER, featuring visuals created by OMTA. http://www.nadavlev.com.
Prior to releasing her first solo piano album, contemporary piano artist and composer Sunny Choi had already ranked on the Billboard magazine’s Next Big Sound chart, featuring artists ascending in popularity through various Web-based outlets. Her career started with hundreds of videos of today’s popular music uploaded to her YouTube channel; played by hundreds of thousands of viewers, they quickly made Sunny an online sensation. Her debut album Closer, released in May 2013, features original work, and is based on her life journey as an immigrant adapting to the new culture and personal emotional experiences. More information: http://www.sunnychoimusicworld.com
Khen Price is a musician, software developer and researcher. His work in both scientific and artistic field is powered by his passion for music and research in music cognition. Passionate about realms where science and arts are crossing paths, Price is a frequent collaborator with creatives from different fields. http://www.khenprice.com.
omta: OMTA are Tal & Omer Golan, contemporary new-media and visual artists duo. OMTA have exhibited in group and solo exhibitions in festivals, galleries and museums worldwide. Many of their artworks were commissioned by private collectors and institutions, like the Tel Aviv Museum of Art and Bank Leumi in Israel. OMTA are presently living in NYC and are immersed in generating multiple forms of digital arts, while exploring innovative and transformative ideas in art, technology and society.