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Anfractuous, A ‘dance video game’

Submitted by Lisa Kwak on March 15, 2023 - 3:06pm
visualization of Anfractuous
Imana Gunawan, Natalie Fernandi, Sean O'Bryan and Majinn Michael O-Neal in 'Anfractuous,' by Jennifer Salk and Martin Jarmick

Play Anfractuous 

In 2016, UW Department of Dance Associate Professor Jennifer Salk and (then) Digital Art and Experimental Media PhD candidate Martin Jarmick came together to collaborate on a mixed media performance work entitled “Begin Again” that premiered at Meany Hall in 2017. Today, nearly seven years later, these two art visionaries are crafting another work, but this time it’s a new and much more personal and personalized way of engaging in dance performance.

Anfractuous is an interactive dance media artwork that invites viewers to activate the choreography through choice and play. Similar to a game, the piece is experienced through a mobile device or computer. Video panels are arranged on the screen and display various angles, spaces, and moving bodies. Viewers/audiences accumulate visual and sonic information as they “play” the game. As correlations are found and the viewer progresses, more dance film vignettes appear. Viewers/ Audiences can engage multiple senses to author their own flow and order of the dance with each experience.

The project has been funded in part by gifts from the Mellon Foundation Faculty Fellows, the Kreielsheimer Grant for Research Excellence, the Petersen Endowed Professorship, and research funding from California State University Northridge.

Originally conceptualized by Jarmick and Salk in 2020, the two worked through the pandemic, almost completely over Zoom with Jarmick now living in Southern California as a digital artist, developer, and assistant professor at California State University Northridge and Salk continuing her work in the Department of Dance at the University of Washington. 

The dance performance footage in Anfractuous was shot in front of a greenscreen at Victory Studios in Seattle, WA on one day in June 2021. The dancers involved are also co-choreographers in the project and UW Department of Dance alums--Natalie Fernandi (’19), Imana Gunawan (’14), Sean O’Bryan (’14), and Affiliate Assistant Professor Majinn Michael O’Neal (’14). Music and sounds were composed by Department of Dance Music Director Paul Matthew Moore, who has composed for film and dance for many years.

After presenting an initial stage of the work at NextFest North West produced by Velocity Dance Center in December 2022, the project is in the final development stages accessed via a vlog, (a channel created to introduce people to the project that allows viewers to test it out and provide feedback).

Professor James Coupe formerly faculty in Digital Arts and Experimental Media at the UW, and now the head of Photography at the Royal Academy of Art in London, says of the research, “[This]innovative methodology is exposing your (Martin and Jennifer) practices to new contexts, which require you to navigate and make decisions that are different to your regular methods, and that may, in turn, inform the conceptual elements of the project. I find this risk-taking and experimental and it's exciting to see art projects that are taking on those contexts.” 

Play Anfractuous

Jen Salk Website:

Martin Jarmick website: