Universal Everything’s work, Presence available exclusively on Sedition, is a mesmerising example of how contemporary technology can become anthropomorphous, tangible, beautiful; and how a collaboration with some of the brightest talents in various industries can lead to astonishing results. Presence is the result of an intense collaboration between Universal Everything, choreographer Benjamin Millepied and his LA Dance Project.
However, it required a delicate balance between abstraction and the figurative to create an artificial form whose movement feels alive, not synthetic. Using motion-track technology, dancer’s movements were captured as they performed choreographed dances following strict structural rules, based on a rhythmic pulse. Subsequently, the footage was manipulated and abstracted into animated sculptural forms that only hint at their origins: the chamber-like space of the screen fills with an immersive, rhythmic, ever-changing audio-visual performance - alive with primal expressions of gestural drawing and choreography. Colour scheme and abstraction follow rules like ‘faster movement equals stronger colours, smaller movements cause colour to recede’, and so on; and in order to keep the focus on form, bursts of colour only fill the space in response to audio-peaks of the soundtrack.
The Presence series consists of 24 films created from six separate dance sequences - each with four variations. It is a work about contemporary technology and its almost limitless possibilities; the beauty it can contribute to everyday lives. Pyke: “I wanted to find the harmony and tension between drawing architecture, human movements, CGI and interaction. I have long been exploring the delicate balance between figurative and abstract forms.” Presence is a work about being human: about what makes the species human as such: its fragility, its physicality, its creativity - it is about humanity’s presence. Pyke: “how far can you abstract things and still see the human presence inside? Can you still feel the soul inside there?”