True to his word, Somma continues to produce innovative creations that cross disciplines and defy categorization. In March 2011, his work “Frances Wessels: A Portrait of 92 Years” was performed in the Théâtre National de Chaillot in Paris. In this piece, renowned dancer Frances Wessels, now aged 92, collaborated with Somma and musician Chris Lancaster. In parallel with this performance, Somma had an exhibition – “Phosphene Variations” – in the theatre foyer. This interactive holographic installation featured a free-floating human subject that reacts when touched by viewers, allowing them to have an active role in shaping the choreography and direction of the piece. The installation was created with support from the Rolex Arts Initiative.
Frances Wessels performs in one of Jason Akira Somma’s portraits
Also in March 2011, back in his home city, New York, more of his work was showcased at the Guggenheim Museum in a world premiere of a collaborative piece, featuring five young directors and choreographers, curated by former Rolex mentor Robert Wilson. Somma contributed four short films that he choreographed, directed and edited at the Watermill Center.
Alison Clancy performing Studies in Feedback. Photo courtesy of Mat Szwajkos
In another development, Somma is finding a creative use for “feedback” in video. Feedback is usually considered a nuisance and is to be avoided. Somma, however, has invented a video set-up that makes use of video feedback to create a new experience of dance performance.
A still image of Alison Clancy captured during a performance of Studies in Feedback. Photo courtesy of Jason Akira Somma