This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001

20Sep/15

WAYNE McGREGOR, OLAFUR ELIASSON, AND JAMIE xx: TREE OF CODES

(photo by Stephanie Berger)

Wayne McGregor’s movement, Jamie xx’s music, and Olafur Eliasson’s visual concept come together to reimagine Jonathan Safran Foer’s TREE OF CODES, which reimagines Bruno Schulz’s STREET OF CROCODILES (photo by Stephanie Berger)

Park Ave. Armory
643 Park Ave. between 66th & 67th Sts.
Through September 21, $30-$90
212-933-5812
armoryonpark.org

Choreographer Wayne McGregor, composer Jamie xx, and artist Olafur Eliasson have created quite an audiovisual spectacle with Tree of Codes, their sparkling adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer’s 2010 book of the same name, which used die cuts to repurpose Bruno Schulz’s Street of Crocodiles. As ticket holders enter the vast Wade Thompson Drill Hall, they encounter large screens to the north and south on which their elongated silhouettes are projected in different colors, reminiscent of Nam June Paik’s “Three Camera Participation / Participation TV,” welcoming them to the show while letting them know they are part of it. The performance itself takes place in the center of the vast Wade Thompson Drill Hall, the audience sitting in rising rows on the east side. Over the course of seventy-five dazzling minutes, various mirrored, translucent, and transparent walls descend from above, altering the perception of the highly athletic dancers, who move about virtually nonstop in an impressive array of solos, duets, and trios, set to a multilayered score that ranges from choral singing to soul, from pulsating dance beats to indie pop, sometimes all at the same time. Just as Safran Foer cut into Schulz’s story, Eliasson’s props cut into themselves, altering space and time, with refracted sections, orbiting circles, and spotlights that wander over the audience, and Jamie xx’s diverse score does the same to itself, coming up with new sounds as the music forms a kind of aural palimpsest. The dancers, meanwhile — consisting of Jérémie Bélingard, Julien Meyzindi, Sébastien Bertaud, Lydie Vareilhes, Lucie Fenwick, and the extraordinary Marie-Agnès Gillot from the Paris Opera Ballet and Louis McMiller, Daniela Neugebauer, Anna Nowak, James Pett, Fukiko Takase, and Jessica Wright from Company Wayne McGregor — are reflected multiple times in the mirrors, or fade away in ghostly images. At times, dancers in front of a see-through partition interact with dancers on the other side as if they are physically together; at other times, they appear to be dancing with multiple versions of themselves. The experience changes depending on where you sit, as the reflections and colors shift based on your angle of vision — and you might even get to see yourself in the background mirror as the spotlight hits you. It never gets very deep, but you can’t stop immersing yourself in its splendor. The performance actually begins with some cool but gimmicky Pilobolus-like moments, but don’t let that worry you. It quickly evolves into a beautifully rendered treat.

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