“We were fascinated by movement and what it does to us instinctively, emotionally,” says Koch. In 2011, this interest led them to the work of BioMotion Lab, at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, where researchers investigate visual perception and social recognition. Collaborating with its director, Dr. Nikolaus Troje, Random International decided to translate the lab’s studies on visual stimuli and the detection of the human form into three dimensions. They brought these studies into a recent artist residency at Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, which resulted in the first prototype of the new sculpture, Study for Fifteen Points / I (2016), also on view at Pace. This smaller sculpture is a spritely counterpart to Fifteen Points / I, operating more quickly and lacking the same degree of vibration—a contrast that only heightens the man-made, and thereby infallible, nature of these works.
Like Fifteen Points / I, another sculpture titled Self and other (2016) also reveals the human form through minimal information. On a black screen, the viewer is reflected in sparse beams of light that together form a blurred, rather than crisp, silhouette of his or her body. The reflection appears not in real time but after a momentary lag, which acts as an “encouragement to interact with yourself,” says Koch. “You become your own partner.”
This interactive nature of the work was emphasized by a series of “choreographic interventions” that were staged last Friday and Saturday. Dancer Fukiko Takase of Studio Wayne McGregor (which also collaborated on Rain Room) activated Self and other in a performance scored by Max Richter. Dressed in simple, nude-colored clothing, Takase approached the work, first timidly, then assertively; her movements were captured in a shimmering cascade of light on the dark screen. “It sort of makes sense to put people in front of [the work] who are perfect at being in their body,” explains Koch. “They really add another layer of possibility, and a contrast between highly technified representation of your body, and then the purity of just the body.”