Yale Institute of Sacred Music transforms campus into a work of art with video installation

“Slow Dancing,” a video installation by artist David Michalek, will transform Yale’s Cross Campus into a work of art this fall. Presented by the Institute of Sacred Music (ISM) with support from the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, it will be on view from Wednesday, Sept. 10 to Tuesday, Sept. 16, from 8 to 11 p.m. each night.

The installation is free and open to the public.

“Slow Dancing” is a series of 43 larger-than-life, hyper-slow-motion video portraits of dance artists from around the world, displayed on a triptych of screens, each measuring 24 feet high by 18 feet across, mounted from scaffolding approximately four stories high.

Each dancer’s movement (approximately five seconds in real time) was shot using a high-speed, high-definition camera recording at several thousand frames per second (standard film captures 30 frames per second). The result is approximately 10 minutes of extreme slow motion. The trio of portraits is randomly selected for each cycle, allowing viewers to simultaneously compare dancers from different styles and cultures, while enjoying the individual performances.

There will be a panel discussion on the interdisciplinary context of “Slow Dancing” with the artist and Yale faculty members from a range of disciplines on Friday, Sept. 12 from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Yale University Art Gallery auditorium at 1111 Chapel St. in New Haven. The event is free and open to the public.

ISM has had a long association with Michalek, and hosted an exhibition of the artist’s “14 Stations” in 2013. He has taught several courses in religion and visual arts.

“ISM is an interdisciplinary center for the study and practice of sacred music, worship, and the related arts,” says director Martin Jean. “Having just entered our fifth decade at Yale, it is a pleasure to offer David Michalek’s supremely beautiful work to the community as an extension of our anniversary celebration.”

“Slow Dancing” has been exhibited in 28 cities around the world, including Los Angeles, London, Berlin, and New York, most often as a work of public art, offering an opportunity for contemplative observation in the midst of a busy city center or campus.

Major support for “Slow Dancing” was provided to Michalek by commissioning grants from the Los Angeles Music Center; Sadler’s Wells, London; Luminato: Toronto Festival of Arts and Creativity; and Walton Arts Center, Arkansas. For more information, visit slowdancingfilms.com.