Directors: Charles Atlas
Studio: Cunningham Dance Foundation and ARTPIX (2010)
Runtime: 97 minutes/3 discs
Format: DVD, NTSC, Region 0 (All)
In 1954, Robert Rauschenberg became the Resident Designer to the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, a position he held for ten years. During that time these friends and collaborators, along with the musician John Cage, created some of the most iconoclastic artworks of the 20th century. This three-DVD set showcases these great artists’ work, along with the work of another, filmmaker Charles Atlas. The DVDs are accompanied by an illustrated essay by Bonnie Brooks.
Charles Atlas has directed and collaborated on over 35 film or video projects with Merce Cunningham and served as the company’s filmmaker-in-residence for ten years (1974-1983). The three films in this collection showcase Atlas’s direction and editing of films and include the 2003 revival of Suite for Five, the 1999 revival of Summerspace, and the original cast of Interscape in 2000.
Suite for Five (1956) is one of Cunningham’s most enduring explorations of time and space. Combined with Cage’s chance-derived score and Rauschenberg’s costumes and design, the work is a classic of the choreographer’s repertoire. In Summerspace (1958) each creative element—Morton Feldman’s score, Rauschenberg’s décor and costumes, and Cunningham’s choreography—were conceived and created independently of one another. Despite this separation, the elements meld to give the audience an impression of a balmy summer day. Interscape (2000) explores the transitions between darkness and light, stillness and exertion, and silence and sound. A detailed and beautifully rendered work, Interscape showcases the essence of the artists Cage, Cunningham and Rauschenberg.
Suite for Five (Total Running Time: 25:58)
Summerspace (Total Running Time: 22:05)
Interscape (Total Running Time: 47:05)