Skeith De Wine
ESA Topical Team
Final Frontier Design
Arthur Woods .
Parabolic flights are the only way to experience zero gravity while staying “on Earth,” whereby a plane goes up to a high altitude, turns off the ignition and comes down in free fall. The body is rendered weightless for 20 seconds, and then crashes back onto the plane floor. These flights recreate the zero-gravity living conditions of astronauts in orbital stations. Generally, there are 20 or more volleys during a parabolic flight mission.
From her parabolic flight experiences, she has developed projects based on the body faced with states of altered gravity: she has worked on the bodies of dancers in the water, of acrobats on circus apparatuses, and of astronauts in the plane. She now examines through her productions how movement is born, the ambiguity of the body’s limits, and the moment of appearance. In Dubois’ choreographic and visual process, the weightless body seems like the symbolic scene for the discovery of new spaces, enabling a rediscovery of the self, giving another meaning to weight and gesture.
For Free Enterprise, her installation, Bulle, has been re-created. It consists of a hanging, rectangular box with a concave bubble upon which is projected Dubois’ choreography during zero-gravity. When a viewer stands close to the concave bubble to observe the projection, the hope is for a disorienting experience that might suggest being an audience member, sitting on the plane, as it falls back to earth.
• Dubois and dancers performing during a parabolic training flight, usually reserved for astronaut training, during which bodies are rendered weightless for 20 seconds. Each flight program consists of 20-30 parabolas.
• Traversées, 2009. Performance back on Earth with gravity employing moves learned during zero-gravity flights. Photos courtesy of the artist.