THE TECHNOLOGY THAT MOVES YOU | Interview with Margherita Landi

THE TECHNOLOGY THAT MOVES YOU | Interview with Margherita Landi

CHRONversations on art and emerging technologies with the artists who create in the field!

  • landi's cube, system for real-time digital-directed performances, technology that moves you, interview with margerita landi

Meet Margherita Landi, an Italian dancer, choreographer and XR artist.

Her Landi’s Cube, a real-time choreographic creation system, allows a silent dialogue between the choreographer, driving the device, and the performer who, wearing a VR headset, lets themselves be guided by the cues they receive (watch a video of the experience here). Enjoy this interview with Margherita Landi: we will have the opportunity to learn more about her first steps, her creative process, and her research needs! 

Let’s kick off with a game! Imagine being the main character of an RPG, fully customisable in name, appearance, goals, attitude and special abilities. Can you let us know Margherita better through this double of hers?

I imagine myself in a sci-fi RPG with humanoid robots. My character is an inseparable human-machine hybrid, whether she was born first as a human or a machine is unknown.

You are an XR artist, you have worked with virtual reality and mixed reality, with immersive and interactive. Is there a mode you lean toward or is it in the extension of possible realities that you find the reason to create? Where did the need come from?

Let’s take a step back. Before working with XR, I worked with other technologies. I come from anthropology and dance, and those two paths crossed over technology. Initially, I was interested in the emotional projection that can be implemented on the digital, and I was interested in social media. In 2012 I started making videos with my cell phone… I liked the idea of wearables, the ease of accessing technology that opens to inclusivity and triggers mechanisms of emotional projection on a space we don’t know yet. The next step was augmented reality, adding non-visible elements to reality, and immersive projections … Then I slipped into virtual reality since it allows total embodiment. As a dancer, I thought, “It’s all there!”. It is a technology that forces you to move, even to watch a video you go from passive to active fruition.

Body and digital. You’ve previously talked about moving from the screen to the body. So far, which direction have you investigated this path in? Have you always moved by taking the digital to the human or even vice versa?

Starting from human, I then moved to digital. My first project, Dance for Smartphone (you can see it here!), led me to make almost 40 videos in a year. The idea was, since I have a cell phone that allows me to make a video wherever I am, I can tell how I feel in certain environments, looking for inspiration, to understand where it comes from, how to regulate it and explore it better… and so as I saw a space that intrigued me I would drop everything, put my bag down, put my cell phone on, dance and then upload it to YouTube. The first step was to see how my body related to the camera and the social and how my image was projected into the digital.

From there I started making videos, the trend until 2018 was to film unrepeatable moments and make sense of them, not so much to try to repeat them but to look for that key that allows you to have more moments like that. In 2018/2019 there was an inversion – from the screen to the body – a period when I was questioning what comes to me from the screen, and how I receive certain stimuli sometimes even unconsciously. Agnese Lanza [dancer and choreographer, collaborates with Margherita since 2019 Ed] also had the same interest: how much movement can I take from a screen? So we did this period where we copied from distant projections, or television screens, phone screens, computer screens… and then at some point, gradual but inevitable, this frontality became boring and I moved everything onto a VR headset to be more free.

You do real-time digital-directed performances with Landi’s Cube system. What fascinated you the most about real-time conducting devices on stage? Have you found with new technologies an interest in expanding your control invisibly or was it already part of your research?

It was already part of my research, I’ve been interested since I was studying improv and instant composition, which I was obsessed with. It fascinated me because of the truth that emerges in improv… while I was improvising I didn’t have the feeling of interpreting, it was me, real, carrying out a concrete action. So it grew out of this idea that if I’m caught in a concrete action my reaction is a real reaction, it’s not interpreted, without deviation from reality.

Composing in real-time allows the dancer to completely put aside the ego or whatever idea they might have of how they see themselves from the outside, they are forced to be in the practical, concrete logic of having to follow an indication, also soliciting an emotional part… there always comes the moment when I show the performer the giant cube for the first time and I play right on that, maybe after holding it so long in a small cube: that moment of “Oh my God, what happened?” is true, and if I can reproduce it on stage I am satisfied. That is why it is necessary for the dancers not to know the choreographic track.

And finally, I would like to close with another game.  If you could collaborate with another artist (living or not) in the field of new technologies, who would it be and why? What would you create together?

I fantasize. Bill Viola. I like his work on spiritual imagery and the ‘beyond,’ Christian imagery because I feel it strongly too, even as a legacy on the body, although I am now a Buddhist. What fascinates me is that he shows it to you as a physical dynamic.

In the photo, Landi’s Cube by Margherita Landi

Proofreading by Leonardo De Simone

Margherita Landi

Choreographer, XR dance artist and video maker, she is a doctoral student at Portsmouth University in “Performance Practice through XR technology”. Since 2010 her artistic work began to focus on practical and theoretical studies on perception and attention, and since 2014 she has expanded to a reflection on body and technology, on the transformation of rituals and emotional processing enacted by digital interaction. Over time she has explored Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Projection mapping, and various social media.

Carla Andolina

Carla Andolina CHRONES. COO About us
17 April 2024

From Lord of the Rings to Evangelion and Ace Attorney, she’s learned that the right team makes all the difference! Creating magical experiences and lasting networks is her mission: bringing together talents from unexpected fields to make 1+1 equal 3! From acting she moved to contemporary dance and social media management: there is no right way to say things, only the most useful! For more than 3 years she’s been SEPHIROT®’s trooper and now she organizes CHRONES.’s forefront expeditions! Allons-y!

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THE TECHNOLOGY THAT MOVES YOU | Interview with Margherita Landi

CHRONversations on art and emerging technologies with the artists who create in the field!

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These are the charachteristics of the article. Like every respectable RPG, they will tell you what to expect from it, on a scale from 1 to 5!

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CHRONES. SRL innovative start-up. Via Mons. Santeramo, 23, 76121 Barletta. P.IVA/C.F. 08822590728 REA BA 652634. Share capital: € 10.000,00 | Privacy Policy | Cookie Policy