23 January 2016


In April 2014, the extensive group exhibition The Golden Age of the Russian Avant-Garde (read here) included as one of its featured works the stunning Biomechanical by Jo Ellsmere. This carefully wrought dance installation has now been invited to Split Screen by curator Dividni Shostakovich. (Dividni adds that he looks forward to resurrecting the venue's visiting artist program, which closed in mid-2013.) Biomechanical isn't an easy work to re-stage — Jo explained to me that she has to re-enter a substantial amount of data as it moves from one site to another — so its run at Split Screen may be a rare opportunity to see it again.

As I said during the work's premiere: "It's Jo Ellsmere who steals the show. Still images cannot begin to convey what she has created, and even the brief video above [view here] will only provide a glimpse. By carefully scripting five avatars in elegant synchronized movement, she has not only explored biomechanics — a system of actor training introduced in the early 1920s by Russian actor, director and teacher, Vsevolod Meyerhold — she has created a stunning display of technical virtuosity with profound implications for dance, performance art and choreography in virtual spaces. Her human forms are at times one — although the overlapping textures remind us of the multiplicity within — and then unfold into five forms, whether slowly rippling apart or simply diverging, with breathtaking attention to detail and timing. While I have seen similar works by Jo in the past, they seem mere studies in comparison to this newer work, which alone is worth repeated visits." Biomechanical will remain on display through February.


  1. Thanks, Ziki! "Biomechanical" is one of those works that just had to come back.

  2. Agreed, and thanks so much for presenting it once again!