Rachel Sweeney and Antonio Roberts -Multiplicitous states

Multiplicitous states


that difference is movement. It always passes, always comes to pass, between the two. And then there is opposition, an awful thing but one that exists, there is only one: which is to say nothing. …difference is ‘the middle’. …it is not the third term, it is not a block between two blocks: it is exchange itself.[1]



Multiplicitous states is a new collaborative work which seeks to question the politics of difference in looking at dance across virtual and live performance sites. The piece is a sound/visual/movement collaboration between butoh dancer Rachel Sweeney, digital glitch artist Antonio Roberts with sound design by experimental electronica artist Shibby Shitegeist. This performance examines the collaborative practices of butoh dancer Rachel Sweeney and digital glitch artist Antonio Roberts, which explore intersections between digitised projected movement and butoh movement to interrogate notions of multiplicity and synaesthesia in performance.



In the face-to-face encounter, the other’s alterity demands that I accept responsibility (response-ability), that I respond.[2]




The translation of the body from physical to digital is fraught with errors and glitches and it is precisely this faulted space that proposes the role of the technologist as performative, in highlighting the fragility of and deviation within technology as a performance proposition. This process echoes a political mapping of the body from a butoh approach, where the image construction in choreography seeks an alterior space in which to locate dislocated movement.


Glitch suggests a disrupt to the smooth functioning of streamlined technology: it also offers a diversion, a multiple discourse that can fractalize and disseminate the body’s edges within a play of light and shadow, where the body of the (live) performer operates as an “intractable referent” (Birringer 1998). Through processes that have their roots in glitch art and generative art, Roberts and Sweeney’s collaborations consider these errors and glitches and integrate them into the performance instead of trying to avoid them.


Multiplicitous states questions how memory is activated within certain empathic responses on the part of the audience that may occur between watching the interplay of 3d and 2d moving bodies, considering such interplay might evoke a similar movement sensation from an audience in registering the presence of speed, emotion, proximity, densities and pressures through the process viewing live motion based performance.




Support Materials

Online documentary: https://vimeo.com/96783042

Review:  http://www.ayoungertheatre.com/review-receptacle-moving-bodies-festival-2015-mart-gallery/ a

Gallery: https://twitter.com/hellocatfood/status/603945952479698945


[1]       Cixous, Hélène and Calle-Gruber, Mireille, (1997) Rootprints – Memory and Life Writing, London and New York: Routledge

[2]     Williams, David (1996) ‘Con-tact Improvisation and Inbetween Spaces’ in Performance Research Journal Routledge, London.



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