A visiting choreographer, student-designed inflatable sculptures and four dancers set the framework for the upcoming performance, FLOAT.

During her three-week residency at Bowdoin, artist Layla Marcelle Mrozowski will collaborate with Assistant Professor of Art Alicia Eggert's Sculpture I class to create a performance that addresses traditional concepts of space.

The performance of FLOAT will not be completely directed by Mrozowski; rather, it will be a collaboration of artists across media. Each component of the piece is mutually dependent: the sculptures will be integrated into the dance while the choreography will interact with the sculptures. The coalescence of the artistic perspectives of the sculptors, dancers, and choreographer will lead to a dynamic, interdisciplinary work.

Eggert said her role in the performance is "to introduce the conceptual framework for the students...They'll have the freedom to fill in the blanks."

The assignment for her sculpture students was open-ended. The class was divided into four groups, each concerned with the overarching theme of inflatable design. One group was tasked with designing a piece large enough to house fifteen audience members; a second group will design inflatable costumes for the dancers; and the two remaining groups will design sculptures to be integrated into the dance as fixed pieces or props.

Heidi Harrison '13, a student working to create the large sculpture said, "the students have the complete freedom to determine how the performance is viewed."

"We could make [the audience] lie down, or place windows at varying heights within the sculpture so the performance can be viewed in different ways," said Harrison.

The audience, seated in this inflatable sculpture, will be positioned at the center of the stage and of the performance. Such an arrangement makes the audience's experience subject to vantage point. This is the manipulation of parallax, the phenomenon that perceptual experience hinges on viewpoint.

"I really like to play with the subjectivity of space and seeing dance," said Mrozowski.

The space, divided along the cardinal directions, will be compartmentalized. Each quadrant has a concept, "a motif to work with," said Mrozowski.

"I really like language as a structure to give myself," said Mrozowski. Her pieces are often built off of meaningful words, "something very special and narrow for me to then open."

This conceptual philosophy of sculpture has captured Harrison's interests as well.

"I like the idea that there are concepts behind art," she said. "There is always meaning—even if you can't see it."

The performance will not adhere to any conventional rules of dance. There will be no narrative and no vantage point.

There is only the broad theme of "how we divide space and time," said Mrozowski. "Space and time are the same in this piece."

Mrozowski intentionally keeps the concepts behind her work vague to allow the audience to derive meaning for itself.

"There is so much subjectivity within language," she said. "Meaning is all relative. What I try to do with dance is to never let it fold into one meaning."

Her artistic process is geared to the authenticity of the audience experience.

She hopes to make pieces that are "correct and true because it is for them," said Mrozowski. "I don't give meaning. My goal is not to explain them."

Mrozowski's art is relational—each person receives a unique message because their experience is filtered by their individual perceptions.

FLOAT clearly challenges concepts of space and movement. The collaboration through the media is meant to inspire a reinterpretation of space and function. Dancers occupy space with their movement, props enter the realm of performance and inflatable sculptures take up space by their sheer volume. The audience is meant to consider the meaning of the movement through space and the occupation of it.

The experience of FLOAT in itself will be like a sculpture. The theme of the connection of space and time is the armature, the sculptural skeleton, on which the audience will build their structure. The finished product should be monumental.

Mrozowski wanted four people—students, faculty, staff or community members—to perform in the final piece. Auditions took place on Monday, and seven girls auditioned.

Mrozowski had the candidates perform various things, including dance moves. She watched them perform together, had them move around the room at various speeds to see how they interacted with space and had them express happiness, joy, love and sadness as they moved.

The FLOAT performance will not be the first time Eggert and Mrozowski work together: The two met at Alfred University. At the time, Eggert was a graduate student and Mrozowski an undergraduate. Their relationship was first based on a mutual interest in dance, as Eggert danced in one of Mrozowski's pieces, but it evolved into a lasting friendship.

Mrozowski's recent focus has been collaboration, and Eggert was intrigued by the opportunity to allow her students to engage in a performance with her. Collaboration is at the heart of Eggert's own design aesthetic and her art is often composed of the intertwined opinions and ideas of other artists.

The FLOAT performance will take place on Sunday, October 17 at 6 p.m. in Morrell Lounge, Smith Union. It is free and open to the public.