Chris Salter

art / design / research / writing

Collaboration with Attakkalari Center for Movement Arts, Bangalore, India / Interactive Scenography

Chronotopia is a dance theater re-imagining of the one of the oldest Indian epic poems: the Tamil epic Silappatikaram. Attakkalari’s multi-media dance production is an episodical journey, which explores the movement of five performers through a physical and emotional landscape of contemporary life: birth, love, marriage, war, devastation, death and transformation. Establishing a link, between the landscape and the emotional as well as spiritual mindset of the protagonist, images from ordinary human existence encounter the intervention of inexplicable forces.

A series of 9 meter tall columns holds a series of 6 Cold Cathode Florescent Lights encased in acrylic cylinders which form a matrix of 36 individually controllable lighting elements. Additionally, three wirelessly controlled CCFL’s are mounted into pedestals which are carried around the stage by the performers and function as sacred objects in the work’s dramaturgical structure.

The stage scenographic environment consists of the lighting system in front of which is suspended a large scale, semi translucent projection screen upon which is projected a series of five iconic yet, visually abstract textures. Top and side cameras analyze the flow of motion from the dancers and are used to provide simultaneous input to both the lighting and projection systems. The lighting responds to the performers’ motion by either triggering set patterns, directly coupling with the dancers or creating abstract traces based on different rhythmic and temporal patterns.

The lighting scenography is inspired by both the abstract images of bodily gestures that are prevalent in traditional Indian dance forms such as Bharatnatyam as well as by the ubiquitous appearance of florescent lighting fixtures in everyday life in India


Kunstlerhaus Mousonturm, Frankfurt, Germany
March 2010

International Dance Festival
Staasts theater, Schauspielhaus
Kassel Germany
March 2010

Vara Konserthus, Vara, Sweden
March 2010

National School of Drama - Bharat Rang Mahotsav (International Festival)
February 2010

Abhimanch Theatre, National School of Drama, New Delhi, India
January 2010

Niraswaram Auditorium, Heggodu, India
February 2009

Music Academy, Chennai, India
February 2009

Attakkalari India Biennial 2009, Ranga Shankara Theater, Bangalore, India, February 2009



36 CCFL lighting elements, acrylic tubes, custom software and hardware, wireless Xbee modules, computer, wooden frame for mounting


Artistic Direction : Jayachandran Palazhy
Choreography : Jayachandran Palazhy, along with the dancers.
Interactive Scenography: Chris Salter | Chris Ziegler
Interaction research/design (light): Marije Baalman | Chris Salter
Interaction design (video) : Chris Ziegler
Lighting Design: Thomas Dotzler
Music Composition & Production: Mathias Duplessy
Lighting programming: Marije Baalman
Lighting system design: Elio Bidinost | Harry Smoak
Sensing research/development : Joseph Malloch | Marije Baalman | Rodolfe Koholy
Costume Design: Jason Cheriyan & Anshu Arora
Male vocals: Shri Balasubramaniam Sharma/ Mathias Duplessy
Female vocals: Neela Ramanujam
Mridangam: B.C Manjunath
Nadaswaram: M. Kodandaram