Heidi Latsky and Maya Man Team Up for a Collaborative Web Installation

March 14, 2022

Heidi Latsky and Maya Man represent two intensely differing strands of contemporary dance: Latsky is a veteran choreographer, while Man is an internet-­famous choreographic technologist. The two have combined their distinct skill sets to create “Recessed,” a distanced collaboration featuring seven performers’ solo movements embedded in a custom-coded web installation. The resulting work consists of an array of browser windows that open in prismatic patterns across a viewer’s computer screen, constellating videos of dancers’ movements in relation to one another. “Unlike a traditional onstage performance,” Man says, “ ‘Recessed’ gives its audience agency over how they experience the work. The audience selects which dancer to click on and in what order. The performance is in constant conversation with its viewers and rarely plays out in the exact same way twice. The way the audience engages with the performers becomes extremely intimate—a reference to the glimpse we get into people’s lives when we are able to peek into their homes online.” 

Heidi Latsky is shown in profile, gesturing with her hands as she speaks to a group seated in a circle with her.
Heidi Latsky. Photo by Beowulf Sheehan, Courtesy Latsky
Maya Man glances up from her laptop. She sits in a sunny, artfully minimalist kitchen, wearing an oversized sweater.
Maya Man. Photo by David Evan McDowell, Courtesy Man

“I wondered how I might create and choreograph a movement-driven piece that, from the beginning, focuses on the browser as a space for performance.” Maya Man

“Recessed” is what happens when artists weigh the choreography of bodies and browsers equally, considering how our physical presence is stacked, embedded and flattened by platforms like Zoom. Latsky says it “came out of my and Maya’s interest in how to portray dance on screen in a way that honors the platform innovatively. But this work also speaks specifically to my longtime curiosity about our inherent isolation and my desire to celebrate it.”

It’s a critical piece of dance and technology that nostalgically refers to early ’net art and the naïveté of online social media. The seeming serendipity of the browser pop-ups and lush movement vocabulary demonstrates a care for viewers’ attention. It’s a loving throwback, yet one that vibrates with the frustration and possibilities of dancemaking right now.

The piece will be available online March 14–31 at recessed.info.