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Floating Departures

Floating Departures is an independent dance film and meditation created in response to life during the pandemic. It was created remotely during lockdown, January-May 2021, and recorded with smartphones. The repetitive routines we clung to during lockdown are juxtaposed with memories of a significant change in our lives where we felt in control. We seek to find meaning in an ever-emerging illogical world and take the audience on a journey through multiple layers and abstractions of reality. The way in which we made Floating Departures is as much a statement of life during lockdown as the art we created. We used a broad range of technologies to transform our everyday spaces–from everyday objects (e.g., balloons and bubble wrap) to AI art systems. Our bricolage approach to art making, while necessitated by lockdown restrictions, also led to new creative potentials. We bring together dance movement, poetry, painterly styles, and sound to create a new place, unbound by reason or logic. In this new realm we explore not only our personal experiences during lockdown, but also the experiences of a larger collective body that emerged in the space between one another. This new realm was only made possible through our evolving process and technologically-mediated interactions. Although we created this work while in separate spaces, these artistic elements were developed iteratively, in close relation to one another. Through this work we demonstrate how technologically-mediated dance collaboration can provide a new lens for understanding our body and movement beyond physical barriers.

  • Shannon Cuykendall
    Video/Movement Direction, Editing and Sound Design
  • Steve DiPaola
    AI Painterly Styles and Poetry
  • Shannon Cuykendall
    Movement and Text Creation, Performance and Recordings
  • Alexandra Pickrell
    Movement and Text Creation, Performance and Recordings
  • Roya Pishvaei
    Movement and Text Creation, Performance and Recordings
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Short, Other
  • Runtime:
    8 minutes 54 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 8, 2021
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  • Shooting Format:
    1080p and 4k
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
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  • Official Selection: F-O-R-M 2022
    November 19, 2022
  • Official Selection: International Fine Arts Film Festival
    Santa Barbara
    United States
    July 1, 2022
  • Official Selection: IMARP - Mostra Internacional de Dança - Imagens em Movimento - Vídeo Dança.
    São Paulo
    December 13, 2021
  • Screening: Dance Studies Association Annual Conference
    October 13, 2022
  • Screening and accompanying paper "Floating Departures: Developing Quarantine Dance Technique as an Artistic Practice Beyond the Pandemic" accepted to MOCO '22 International Conference on Movement and Computing
    United States
    June 22, 2022
  • AltFF ALternative Film Festival Fall 2021 Award Nominations

    Nominated for Best Experimental North America (short category)
Director Biography

Shannon Cuykendall is a transdisciplinary artist and scholar working across the fields of dance, interaction design, and cognitive science. Her interactive installations and choreography have been presented internationally in Poland, Australia, the Netherlands, Spain, the United States and Canada. Shannon received her PhD from the School of Interactive Arts & Technology at Simon Fraser University in 2022 and studies how kinesthetic experiences can be transmitted in technologically-mediated environments. Floating Departures is Shannon's first professional film submission; however, she has been exploring film and digital technologies in contemporary performance, as a way to reach broader audiences, since 2006.

Steve DiPaola, active as an artist and scientist, is a professor at Simon Fraser University, where he directs the cognitive-based Artificial Intelligence I-Viz Lab and also has a professional art career. He came to SFU from Stanford University. He has over 100 science-based publications, patents, and books. His artwork has been exhibited at the A.I.R. Tenderpixel, and Tibor de Nagy galleries in NYC/London as well as museums MoMA, Tate, Whitney, and the Smithsonian. He co-curated the first computer art show in a major NYC gallery in 1988 and had one of the first one-man travel shows of his AI art.

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Director Statement

Shannon Cuykendall's Statement: I am a transdisciplinary artist who creates dance and movement experiences for film and interactive environments. Through the use of lo-fi, accessible mobile technologies I seek to create fewer barriers between the performer and the technology and design opportunities for audiences to engage kinesthetically in the joy of movement.