SWAP-Project, Porto, Portugal, 2006
Author: João Costa, Rudolfo Quintas, Tiago Dionísio
Directed by João Costa, Rudolfo Quintas, Tiago Dionísio

about the production

A short solo of young Portuguese choreographer and dancer João Costa is carefully watched not only by the audience but also by a computer. The system of precisely located cameras scans every human movement. The computer mirrors the movement of the dancer in a projection and it comments it in his own way. The moving figure is depicted only in contours; it is enough for the computer to capture on its two-dimensional screen a human movement from a three-dimensional space.

The SWAP was created by authors of software, sound and visual design Rudolfo Quintas and Tiago Dionísio. The result of their co-operation moves on a border between an audio-visual performance and some kind of commercial promotion of a new product, in this case, software.  The audience can enjoy the inviting look of the hungry medium, which was pointed at by Baudrillard.  You do not watch the media; the media watch you!

The SWAP directs the audience’s attention to a zero point of a mutual interaction of man and a medium. For this time, the medium does not create stories, does not transmit an endless stream of pictures, talks and music. Its screen is empty; it can depict a thing only monochromatically. It is free of language; it creates only indifferent noises. It has limited possibilities; purposely, the creators did not allow more. They bound it in order to see this beast’s seductive face closer. But the medium does not give up and does not lose its calm.  It is enough that we allow it to be with us. Like waiting Sandman, corked in a bottle, it sits and watches us quietly. It waits. Peacefully. Waits.  Inconspicuously. Waits. For the time when we open the bottle and it will rule over all our senses once more. Except those which are beyond it, yet. Yet. In the moment when we release it, it will grasp our attention and fill our mind with information which we are never to use, even though it will easily convince us that we are. It will introduce us with people whom we have never wanted to meet.  It will take us to the countries whose names we do not know to pronounce.  Imagine all those things we could have meditate over during the time spent editing and selecting the package of information we got for free!  It could have been something beautiful, or sad, or aggressive.

Nevertheless, we may see the picture of a dancer in the virtual reality space as a picture of a world of different rules and laws than those we know. The something we see as contours has in this world behind mirrors a significance of excellent shape. The limitations of the screen are advantages of the space which we cannot perceive as a whole. We become the spectators of the clash of the Our and Another. The clash of two worlds, which can communicate only by imitating the gestures of the other one. We see the dancer as a picture, and his computer-generated shadow as a silhouette.  If we watch this picture for long, we may decompose the silhouette into smaller and smaller particles, and can make it to micro- and nanoparticles. Meanwhile, we may enjoy the undisturbed wholeness of the shadow on the screen in a contrast with infinite number of details and movements of the dancer in the space, because it is exactly this perceiving of a whole, without persuasive decomposition into particles and details, which became distant for us.  The picture of the dancer reminds of a stone in a Japanese garden. It has plain and grey surface and it cannot move.  It does not get old, and its transformations in time are far slower than the human ones.  Its petrified presence and the way by which it exposes the uniformity of its motionlessness alarm the observer and make him to search for the hidden.
Ján Šimko


conception and interpretation: João Costa, Rudolfo Quintas, Tiago Dionísio
choreography: João Costa
software, sound and interactive visual art: Rudolfo Quintas, Tiago Dionísio
advisers/observers: Andreia Pinto de Sousa, David Santos
costume: Helena Mota
co-production: Núcleo de Experimentação Coreográfica + Culturporto / Rivoli Teatro Municipal


João Costa (1979)
A dancer and choreographer. He began his dance studies with Conchita Ramirez following the syllabus of the Royal Academy of Dancing. In 1997 – 2000 he studied pharmacy at the University of Porto. In 1993 – 2000 he performed in the “CDA-Companhia de Dança de Aveiro”, but a majority of his performances he produced as an independent dancer and choreographer. In 2002, he took part in island 1- Capitals Encontros Acarte 2003 of Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (Un-under the roof-Choreography as an investment in risk, dance as a laboratory of doubt) and in the residence in Porto of the “Repérages danse à Lille 2002”.

Rudolfo Quintas (1980)
In 2003 he was graduated in Sound and Image, specialized in Digital Arts, UCP – Portuguese Catholic University. He made a research internship in Art and Interactive Design, London, United Kingdom, and Studied Electronic Music Composition in the DAMS program in Rome University-Italy as ERASMUS studies. With Tiago Dionísio, they have been developing and presented several Interactive Media Installations based on Computer vision. Recently he was Assistant Professor of 3D Computer Animation and Interactive Media Arts at ESAD, Polytechnic School of Arts and Design, Caldas da Rainha.

Tiago Dionísio (1974)
In 2003, he graduated in Sound and Image, specialization in Digital Arts, School of Arts – Portuguese Catholic University. He took part as a member of the production team of the Digital Arts Festival Olhares de Outono 2003, where he took several workshops at School of Arts – Portuguese Catholic University, Porto. He collaborated with a real time 3D animation for the concert of the contemporary music project – Orchestrutopica. He joined in the Master Class “Introduction to Digital Image Processing with Sound”, included in the MISO Music 2003 Festival, at the Portuguese Contemporary Music Information Center, Coimbra. He exhibited an interactive installation with Rudolfo Quintas, in Labirintho Gallery, Porto.