Just try to watch this video of Australian dance company Chunky Move’s Connected without being completely transfixed:

Amazing, no? The process we’re seeing here is technically simple: a feather-light geometric sculpture is attached to long strings, which are strung through a hoop and affixed to the bodies of dancers, who act like reverse marionettes. Through their slow movements, the human puppets manipulate the “sticks” at the far end of their strings, rather than the other way ‘round. But this simple idea creates an outlandish effect. Note how the sculpture’s grid-like regularity resembles computer graphics like screen savers, CAD drawings, and DNA helices. And the way that the lighting draws your focus away from the operators, toward other “no-strings” dancers as they interact with a floating grid that appears to have a mind of its own. The effect is like a classy live version of Tron: a surreal juxtaposition of humanity and technology on a seemingly virtual plane.

Chunky Move will be at White Bird October 20-22. For more about Portland arts events, visit PoMo’s Arts & Entertainment Calendar, stream content with an RSS feed, or sign up for our weekly On The Town Newsletter!