Slow Dancing, David Michalek’s video installation featuring larger-than-life, hyper-slow-motion video portraits of dancers and choreographers, offers insight into the physics of movement and the essence of creativity.
With these images, Michalek conjures a fluid stillness, creating a meditative time and space amidst the rush and crush of contemporary life. Slow Dancing engages the senses and the mind in an encompassing experience of awareness. The work also transforms Harvard Yard, calling forth its symbolic significance as a place for contemplation.
Michalek stresses the importance of incorporating different styles of dance as not simply pluralistic, but also as aesthetically interesting. A ballerina’s split-second pirouette drags out across an agonizing span of time, and each muscle’s contraction gets a starring role in its own few moments of screen time. Meanwhile, on a neighboring screen, a break-dancer’s gravity-defying movements change at a glacial, gorgeous step. Creative imagination, says Michalek, lives in that tension. And the work itself is driven by his desire to create “a little oasis of contemplation—a secular chapel—” in the midst of our daily bustle.