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8 Projection-Mapped Performances That Have Us Dancing with Our Computers

Projection mapping provides a whole new world of interaction between performers and processors.

A version of this article originally appeared on The Creators Project Netherlands.

Let's be real: modern dance is a lot like cats—fickle, often obtuse, and not always for everybody. Sometimes it's something you have to learn to love, and sometimes even that just doesn't work out. But even for the most ardent dog lover, if the simile follows, these 8 digital projection-mapped performances have the potential to make your cold, dance-and-tech culture-starved heart race. 

Hakanaï

With Hakanaï, the artist duo Adrien M / Claire B use CGI, sensors, and digital video mapping to blur the lines between fantasy and reality. The result is an interactive, 3D environment in which body and background environment become one.

Pixel

Elfin modern dancers find their harmony through total immersion in a space made ​​up of floating pixels. The fairytale projections and—above all—spectacular scenery make the slick timing of Adrien M / Claire B's Pixel performance look absolutely stunning.

Black & White

Pixel n'Pepper kicks off Black & White with a kung fu practitioner entering a fight with his own digital shadow. How this epic fusion of ancient martial arts, modern dance, and futuristic technology eventually transpires, has to be seen to be believed.

Ljós

| Ljós | - fuse* feat. Elena Annovi from fuse* on Vimeo.

Tasteful acrobatics, intense graphics, and realtime-generated audiovisuals come together in Ljós. This creation, from Italian multidisciplinary group fuse*, is a four-minute journey into a "surreal and disorienting world."

Eleven Play

Japanese minimalism decorates this performance, which was directed and programmed by artist Daito Manabe. With only five luminous cubes as props, the bodies of its dancers serve as the canvas for a succession of brightly colored, geometric graphics. Click here to watch The Creators Project's documentary about Manabe and his experimental art.

Right Brain

In one of Manabe's latest works, dancers move around a virtual world where they make light paintings with their movements and triangles as stars fall from the sky. Yes, in case you're wondering, it looks just as magical as it sounds.

Seventh Sense

Don't be fooled by the humble introduction to this surreal performance by the Taiwanese Anarchy Dance Theatre. For those with attention span beyond six minutes, the performance transforms into a digital, The Matrix-esque universe ​​of optical illusions.

Apparition

You might only remember the Austrian transmedia artist Klaus Obermaier for his Dancing House, but the man took on the Brighton Festival and received an award for the digital dance project, Apparition. Its ominous soundtrack echoes rings out towards the end like a stalled modem—so don't take a single moment for granted, and save this one to show your friend. 

Check out more projection-mapped action in the links below:

Watch A Model's Face Transform With Projection-Mapped Makeup

Walk on Water in a Projection-Mapped Paddy Field

[Best of 2014] The Year in Projection Mapping