Gilles Jobin’s Company

Digital Dance Company

While the company started its digital experiments with VR_I in 2017, it was in the heart of the pandemic in March 2020 that Gilles Jobin thought about capturing the movement of dancers and sending their avatars to perform in real time to live audiences across the world. With travel restrictions, multiple lockdowns, and the cancellation of all its dates, the outlook for live performances was bleak for a global touring dance company. The immediate intuition was to dive into digital territories as it seemed obvious that with the technological tools at disposal from previous digital projects, the company could develop in house its own network technology to continue to perform live internationally. Anticipating years of travel difficulties and last-minute cancellations, the company decided to explore new digital territories for dance and to test new opportunities to distribute its works and tour without traveling. The company experimented remote motion capture and soon created its first multiuser VR performance with motion capture in real time, La Comédie Virtuelle – live show, a live immersive VR piece in a virtual theater for 5 dancers who were motion captured in Geneva (3), Bangalore (1), and Melbourne (1), and who danced together in the same 3D space. Accessible globally online, the work was selected in competition at the 2020 Venice International Film Festival.

Virtual reality is the most immersive digital environment and requires the audience to wear headsets to participate in the experience. Confronted with audience accessibility in VR, the company aims at more accessible formats such as 2D projection for video mapping, cinema, or online distribution. Cosmogony is not only a live digital performance but also an experiment in live animation.

Performed live in our Geneva studio with motion capture, Cosmogony has been remotely screened live, 8000 miles away at the Singapore International Festival of the Arts – SIFA and video mapped 1500 miles away at the Bucharest International Dance Film Festival – BIDFF.

The Creation of a Digital Dance Company

Made up of a tight group of seasoned digital artists and dancers experienced in the challenges of motion capture, Cie Gilles Jobin envisioned a unique model for a Digital Dance Company. The company is particularly interested in the possibilities of real time motion capture for live performances and digital production from the point of view of the performing arts and is currently upgrading its dance studio with high-end optical motion capture equipment by Qualisys and designing a production pipeline for movement-based digital content in real time. In its experience, fundamental research is essential to create innovative art projects and the company is now opening Studios44/MocapLab to artists in residence for research and development in motion capture without the constrains of a commercial studio. The company is currently leading the international collaborative project Virtual Crossings (Geneva, Argentina, Australia) and developing dynamic tools for remote connections, real time collaborations and real time performances.

Cie Gilles Jobin Geneva Switzerland

Since 1995 Cie Gilles Jobin has created more than 20 choreographic projects, which have become references on the world stage. In 2015 Gilles Jobin received the Swiss Grand Award for Dance by the Swiss Office of Culture. With the 3D film WOMB in 2016, the company started investigating digital possibilities for contemporary dance within the volume of the frame. Discovering the power of motion capture, the company created VR_I, a groundbreaking dance piece in immersive virtual reality that premiered at the 2017 FNC – Festival du Nouveau Cinema in Montreal and won both the Innovation and People’s Choice awards for Most Innovative Work for New Platforms. In 2018 the work featured at the Sundance Film Festival and at the 75th Venice International Film Festival. A world tour followed in more than 50 cities and 20 countries in America, Asia and Europe, making it the most toured VR location-based installation in the world. The company created Dance Trail (AR) at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and in 2020, La Comédie Virtuelle – live show, a multiuser live performance selected in official competition at the 77th Venice International Film Festival which won the Quebec XR industry award Numix 2021.