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Marta Di Francesco in residency at Ugly Duck in February 2018

Janus is a VR art project that explores the duality of time and its effects on our identity. Inspired by the ancient god of time – the two-faced Janus, the project questions the meaning of one’s identity in times of transformation, as past and future face each other. In Janus, the viewer finds themselves witnessing a dance, a dialogue between two dancers who reveal to be past and future – the two faces of time.

Based on a moving image piece created by Marta in December 2017, Janus VR is the next step in her exploration of digital identity, sculptural time and presence, concepts previously explored using time displacement techniques such as slit scanning and volumetric aesthetics. The combination of VR and volumetric techniques used in the creation of the piece is key for the artist to explore the boundary between real and virtual, for the audience to experience a deeper sense of presence, and for the dancers to test new approaches in choreography. Through the VR headset, the viewer will place themselves in the centre of the experience, being fully immerse in the dancers’ performance.

Janus VR is a poetic journey in which the notions of self and wholeness are raised and questioned against the theme of disintegration and dilution of one’s identity. The story that guides the viewer is carefully delivered through script, the voice-over recordings and ambisonic soundscape. The concept of liminality or a “transitional period” is also explored in Janus. Liminality is relevant in questioning and defining the meaning of time when everything around us is changing. “We are at the threshold of a new era that will be defined by our ability to learn from the past in order to move forward into the future. A deep sense of presence is necessary in moments of transition which are often accompanied by loss of identity. Presence is necessary to understand this moment and to be able to take action in response to it.” – Marta Di Francesco.

Janus VR is a project by London-based artist Marta Di Francesco produced by Carmen Salas with funding from Arts Council England, and the support of Ugly Duck.

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