This past weekend, Kosmologia Interdisciplinary Ensemble premiered a multimedia work, Dreaming/Undreaming, at the Princeton Festival. The piece combines dance, video art, and piano music by J.S. Bach and the ensemble’s artistic director Carmen-Helena Téllez. Here is the trailer.
When I learned that it was inspired by two short stories of Jorge Luis Borges, “The Library of Babel” and “The Aleph,” the project piqued my interest. The juxtaposition of Bach with Téllez’s more atmospheric compositions is an intriguing way to underscore the work’s two sources. The two strands of identity allow dancer Alexa Capareda to create two “characters” with distinct movement identities. Pianist Natasha Stojanovska plays assuredly. Her Bach is “old school” in terms of tempo and rubato, but convincing when set alongside the video. Performance footage and images of libraries, architecture, and labyrinthine series of staircases also make the Borges connection clear.
After enduring so many performance videos in the pandemic of dubious quality, it is refreshing to see what Kosmologia’s team has put together, a visually appealing multidisciplinary work that entertains across its several domains.