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a film performed live


#dance #cinema
#livecinema #realtimeperformance
Extant by Jamie Lee and Stanislav Dobak of Motionhouse, an interdisciplinary real-time film

Extant is a unique and immersive interdisciplinary performance that takes audiences on a journey through the rhythm of nature and the constant of time. The performance explores the balance humans have with nature and themes that are inherent in our existence, such as the phases of life, memories, death, grief, and the forces of time that transform the present into memories.


The performance is presented as a film performed in real-time, and the performance space is transformed into a film studio. This allows the audiences to witness the behind-the-scenes creation of the film and plays on the juxtaposition of the poetic nature of the film. The immersive experience places the audiences at the center of the created universe, using a hands-on approach that engages the narrative through perspective and perception.


The interdisciplinary format of Extant merges dance and camera to create a unique and engaging experience for the audiences. The screen becomes part of the scenography, interwoven in the interdisciplinary medium, and demolishes art form boundaries. By doing so, Extant pushes the boundaries of traditional theatre and immerses audiences in a parallel universe that reflects the rhythm of nature and the constant of time.


The film Extant is a reflective essay that delves into the rhythm of nature and the constant of time, exploring their impact on human existence from the inception of birth and beyond. The film incorporates imagery of the known and unknown universe to delve into the balance that humans share with nature, touching on themes that are integral to our existence.


By placing the audience at the center of this universe, the film explores various chapters of life including birth, growth, memories, grief, and grace, all of which are intertwined with the natural world. The opening scene, which depicts birth, serves as an attempt to understand the perception of time, and its remnants of growth can be observed throughout the film. There is a constant reminder of time's fleeting nature, which carries through a seamless scene of continuous motion through time and space.


Throughout the film, audiences are reminded of our temporary existence in the relationship between humans and nature. Nature is indifferent to us; it continues to evolve and transform, creating, destroying, and dying without any regard for human presence. There is a palpable tension in this relationship, one that may be beyond repair. As we contemplate our role in this world, we must ask ourselves if we can leave the earth in the same condition in which we found it.


The film also explores the most arduous lessons of life, such as grief and suffering, which often leave humans feeling lost in the modern world. As we contemplate our eternity, we are forced to question the phases of our lives, which time inevitably carries us beyond. Ultimately, what we are left with is a body of memories, a reflection of our place in the universe and our relationship with nature.


"The basic formal characteristic of the composition in this project is Sonorism - sound-musical structures that develop in four phases of serial repetition (serialism). The musical idea of the author is visual but not allegorical. The natural chaos of natural sounds (atonal sounds) are overwritten again and again with the sounds of human emotion, human tendencies of creation and destruction (tonal structures). On top of the natural sounds are digitally added modulated consonances, which are transformed into tonal structures. Those tonal structures became the musical basis for the third layering of the composition, human instruments came in the form of modulated mellotron, slide guitar (lap steel guitar), sung falsettos, and piano. The aforementioned triple layering forms an organic whole, as if to create a single monumental fluid entity that sometimes wants to triumph over itself in its pristine nature, and at other times seems to collapse in its destructive drama, and within it, discovers a longing for the sacred.


The composition is pieced together from four stages - sometimes it is fragile and unstable, at other times its harmonic foundations assimilate inexorably into cacophonous structures of ominous sounds of animals fighting for their lives from the rainforest and the sounds of bombers. F. Nietzsche refers to a certain human condition as "Uberstopfung" , it is a state when one no longer looks at oneself in the mirror, but lives in longing for one's own spiritual realisation.


The role of music, according to this, is not to express something, but to summon up spiritual/natural forces. Music is not meant to be an allegorical storyteller, it does not describe a condition but tends to create it, to summon it through sonic situations of power, images, and signs. It can be as destructive as it can be love-sounding. Just as birdsong, speaks of nothing other than the birdsong itself, just as a garden is nothing other than its own stillness, just as a tree is nothing other than its own vegetation, just as a flower is an extension and wilting of the heavens. Nor is music anything other than a world that is full of successive cycles of creation and extinction.”


By composer Lászlo Pálmai

Concept: Jamie Lee

Choreography, performance: Jamie Lee, Stanislav Dobák

Film Director: Jamie Lee

Director of Photography, Aerial Cinematographer: Stanislav Dobák

Music Composer: Lászlo Pálmai

Producer: Alexandra Mireková

Film assistants: Bartosz Przybylski, Alexandra Mireková

Production Assistant: Kristína Chmelíková

Set production: Christoff Laurent


Co-production: fond na podporu umenia (The Art Support Fund Slovakia), Záhrada - Center for Independent Culture, Skok - Physical arts, Motionhouse/Jamie Lee & Stanislav Dobak

Residency Studio Thor Bruxelles. 

Photos by Katarina Baranyai, Motionhouse and

© DYOD -  Nu Dance Fes 2024, 


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