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Charles Atlas introduces Merce Cunningham films at the Anthology Film Archives

Charles Atlas, video still of Fractions I, 1978.

As a part of the Merce Cunningham Centennial at the Anthology Film Archives, Charles Atlas will introduce Fractions I (1978) and Channels/Inserts (1982), two films he made in collaboration with dancer-choreographer Merce Cunningham. Tickets are available at Anthology's box office on the day of the show only. The box office opens 30 minutes before the first show of the day. There are no advance ticket sales. Reservations are available to Anthology members only.


In Fractions I, four video monitors share the screen space with the dancers, displaying close-ups of the performers throughout the dance. The images mediated by the monitors share the same “tense” as the live dancers, calling attention to the limited frame imposed by video recording, and provoking the boundaries of perception. To create Channels/Inserts, Cunningham and Atlas divided the Company’s Westbeth studio into sixteen possible areas for dancing and used chance methods based on the I Ching to determine the order in which these spaces would be used, the number of dancers to be seen, and the events that would occur in each space. Atlas employed cross-cutting and animated mattes or wipes to indicate a simultaneity of dance events occurring in different spaces, as well as to allow for diversity in the continuity of the image.