interview Recoil/Tina Tarpgaard

Recoil is a Copenhagen based performance group. The group was formed in 2003 by choreographer Tina Tarpgaard and composer Pelle Skovmand, with the intention of establishing collaboration between artists across genre and borders. ‘Through dance, live video and electronic sound, we create performances that aim to explore technology as an equal and interactive partner to the performing artist’


Can you introduce yourself, and your company?

My name is Tina Tarpgaard. I am a choreographer from Denmark. In 2003 i started working with choreography and new media art in performances. We where a group of artists that worked together for a while. And we finally agreed to form the group “recoil performance group”. Basically we are a group of artist (composer, media-artists and choreographer) that share a common interest in exploring motion responsive scenography and sound.

What is your background?

I was educated and worked as a dancer for several years. (ecole atelier Rudra Bejart  in Switzerland and Rambert School in England) I always had a big interst in motion picture and in drawing, so i think all of that some how came together in the work with dance and new media.

How would you describe your work?

I usually try to balance the poetic moments that happens when you put a human body in to motion responsive space, with the more direct physicality of the dancing body. Most of all i focus a lot on trying to make the media and the body “bring something more” to each other. It is important to me that the final product is in balance between body and and technology.

– What is your main challenge and goal as a choreographer?

To keep renewing my self and to maintain the curiosity to explore.

Where do you get your inspiration?

From lots of different places. It can be an article in the paper, a discussion with a friend, films, books or pictures.

Does technology influence your work and aesthetics?

Very much so, yes.

In Bodynavigation technology plays a main part of the performance. It explores digital footprints that people leave behind. Can you explain more about this?

To leave a mark or a footprint behind is, i guess, a slightly vain excitement in seeing a trace of you existence. On the other hand it is also about history, about having a history that shapes you as a person. In body navigation, the concept is based on the dancers and their history of movements, visualized through motion sensing and projected graphics. The history takes different forms in the different scenes. But it always catches up with them :-)

How do you feel about the increased use of digital tools by artists? Is technology overrated?

I think technology is a very natural tool to be using in arts as well as in any other place in society. What it is not is exciting in it self. For me art needs to point through the wall. Technology is a tool (and a very valuable one) like lots of other tools used by artist.

What other art inspires you?

Film, books, paintings, photography…. i am sure i forgot to mention a few.

What is the best performance you have ever seen? Why was it so good?

Sasha Waltz opening performance at Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz. Inventive, poetic and surprising. She can transform the meaning of a sound or gesture by changing the visuals and actions in a space, like no other.

Can you recommend good a book/film?

Books: “in the blink of an eye” by film editor Walter Murch, or “Cloud Atlas” by David Mitchell.
“let the right one in” by swedish Tomas Alfredson is my favorite film right now.

Interview by Olga Mink for plazaplus 2010


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