Application Review: 2wice Merce Cunningham Event


Merce Cunningham was always the innovator.  The application for mobile devices, 2wice Merce Cunningham Event emerged from a series of performances between 2001 and 2007 for the visual and performing arts journal twice.  The resulting application was meant to represent the imagery and experience of dance in a new medium. The application is focused around static content, divided into ten different chapters and interspersed with text explaining process, environment, and timeline.  The interaction with the application is through scrolling further and further to the right or left.  As one progresses through the photographic tableau aspects to the works stand out in the form of costume, environment, and perspective.  Many of the chapters feature photography against a white background, lending a clean visual rendering of the forms of the dancers.  Other chapters are set in the studio, on a rooftop, and outside.

The video embedded in the last three chapters of the application had a similar sense of moving and stillness.  These sections focus on interviews with performers and process with sections of movement and short pieces.  The explanation of the process and the personal stories about interactions with Merce illuminate the unique and thoughtful way that the late master worked with his company and constructed dances.

This application is relatively unique, being part performance, part visual art (through the lense of a still camera), and having an educational and reflective element.  It defies the conventions of applications for mobile devices in general and when the content is exhausted it feels akin to owning a DVD of a performance.  For fans of Merce Cunningham and his company and of dance in general it is certainly worthwhile (a free download) take an hour or so and explore 2wice: Merce Cunningham Event.