2wice Launches New iPad App and Website
2wice, the visual and performing arts journal, has always provided an alternative performance space for dance, one that had the advantage of being a permanent record of this most ephemeral art form. Now 2wice has published its first iPad app, “Merce Cunningham Event,” a tribute to the legendary choreographer (1919-2009) that combines live-action video, interviews and historic dance photography originally developed in collaboration with Cunningham. The app is available for free downloads through iTunes, building upon Cunningham’s lifelong interest in using technology to present dance in new ways.
Download the free iPad app from iTunes
Over the course of a decade, 2wice president Patsy Tarr and creative director Abbott Miller collaborated with Merce Cunningham and his company to create a series of 2wice editions based on his repertory. These photographic portfolios—featuring the work of photographers Joachim Ladefoged, Katherine Wolkoff and Christian Witkin—have been translated into a series of “Events” for the iPad. Cunningham used the term “Event” to describe his way of restaging aspects of his choreography; in his many collaborations with Tarr and Miller, Cunningham created these Events for the unique conditions of 2wice.
The publication of “Merce Cunningham Event” marks a turning point for the 2wice Arts Foundation and initiates a new period. For many years the mission of the foundation centered on capturing the ephemeral nature of choreography and performance through the tangible medium of photography and print—the unique stage of the printed page. The advent of the iPad offers a new multimedia platform for 2wice, one that enables the presentation of photography, text, music and full-motion imagery in the context of a digital tablet. The app utilizes horizontal scrolling, highlighting the cinematic nature of many of the magazine’s collaborations of dancers and choreographers.
“Event” is celebrating Cunningham’s work as the Merce Cunningham Dance Company prepares for its final performances—the troupe will disband later this year. (The company will be performing at the Merce Fair at New York’s Lincoln Center this weekend.) The company has been a forerunner in the use of technology to preserve Cunningham’s work; its Legacy Projectis an extensive archive of “digital capsules” that maintain the choreographer’s dances in notes, audio and video. “Event” extends this philosophy.
The app features dances drawn from across the span of Cunningham’s career. It opens with a simple table of contents of the numbers 1 through 10, each leading to a separate event. Several of these are portfolios that have appeared in award-winning issues of 2wice, including performances from 2wice: How to Pass, Kick, Fall; 2wice: Cunningham/Rauschenberg; and 2wice: Green World; and 2wice: Picnic. Many of the images feature costumes created by Robert Rauschenberg, Cunningham’s frequent collaborator. Pages can be advanced by swiping across the screen or by accessing an interface of scrolling images at the bottom of the app.
Taking advantage of the multimedia opportunity of the iPad, “Event” includes three new, specially commissioned videos featuring dances performed by legendary Cunningham alums Holley Farmer and Jonah Bokaer. Farmer dances her solo from “Loosetime,” and Bokaer performs his solo from “Split Sides.” Both solos were created specifically for these dancers by Cunningham. Together the dancers perform a duet called “Changing Steps: Floor Duet,” an iconic piece of modern choreography. Filmed and edited by Ben Louis Nicholas, the videos also feature music by frequent Cunningham collaborator Loren Kiyoshi Dempster. Several of the “Events” are accompanied by brief essays by Nancy Dalva, whose webcast series “Mondays with Merce” documented Cunningham’s ongoing work.
Merce Cunningham’s ‘Changing Steps: Floor Duet,’ one of three performance videos specially commissioned for the app. The dance is performed by Holley Farmer and Jonah Bokaer. Video directed by Ben Louis Nicholas.
Holley Farmer performs her solo from ‘Loosetime.’
Jonah Bokaer dances his solo from ‘Split Sides’ in a new video for the app.
The horizontal scrolling of the app is echoed in the new design of the 2wice website, also launching today. The site contains an archive of issues from the magazine’s entire run, represented on the homepage as a timeline of covers and spreads arranged in reverse chronological order. Visitors can examine individual issues by clicking on an image to view an extensive portfolio of the issue and to purchase copies. A companion project to the app, the site seamlessly integrates with an iPad and captures the dynamic sense of motion represented in 2wice’s pages.
Project Team: Abbott Miller, partner-in-charge and designer; Kristen Spilman, designer. App development: Rubenstein Technology Group. 2wice website developer: Colin Dunn.