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Master of Zoom

Master of Zoom

We began working on STORY OF THE BLUES in October 2020, picking it up again in October 2021. We will return to it in March 2022.

The show develops alongside a radical evolution across the globe of our understanding of what it might mean to share space.


Reflecting on this process it seems in many ways exactly like all the Magnetic North processes I’ve worked in, only happening on Zoom. While Zoom totally sucks, Nicholas Bone on Zoom is still a master of making a space for collaboration.

Working alongside Daniel Padden, Naledi Herman, Mia Scott, Greg Sinclair and Apphia Campbell, Nick invited us to explore ideas about:

  • Listening to sad songs when we are sad
  • Creating a form that spoke to many spaces existing in one space all at the same time
  • The last scene of Uncle Vanya and an idea of work as a way of getting through hard times

I’ve been invited to reflect on the process.  I’m going to say something about working on screen, the principles that have emerged from our R and D and some ideas that are evolving for video design.

Moving across spaces, platforms and scores

In 1992, William Gibson said that we no longer ‘go into’ what was then known as cyberspace; we are there already. So the online world is a space that surrounds us, always there to move in and out of. I still find that very exciting.

I started experimenting with video projection in live dance in 1994, and I’ve been directing across digital platforms and real world spaces since 2012. 

Over four months in 2020 I developed a way of making a film by directing online. 25 dancers worked in-camera following choreographic scores. That experience informs my work on this project.

Some principles from our R and D

What if we were making a musical score not a script?

  • What if we just made the show in relation to the unstable conditions we find ourselves in rather than deferring it to another time?
  • What if the show happened in many spaces and times?
  • What if working on zoom wasn't awful?
  • What if recordings of improvisations in rehearsals were rushes?
  • What if documentation could be a method for making?

What if we were listening to the same sad song in our different spaces and that same song was a way of knowing that we weren’t alone?

Fabulous Domestic

Here are three early very rough sketches from very rough Zoom recordings.

Like the performances they are a kind of improvisation that will lead to further developments. So they might end up in real space, wrapped around  a building or developed as a texture.  Or something else.

I was thinking of: Mundane life and mundane domestic space made fabulous. Zoom looking gorgeous. Layers of time and space. The text is lifted from Rear Window, everything is improvised including Daniel Padden’s music and I’ve kept continuity with the sound:

Film 1 and 2

Bored with the cleanscreen- widescreen of zoom here is something more layered:

Film 3

The improvisation is silent but plays with how sad songs allow us to inhabit intensity, imagined great loves and great sadness and a screen that can’t contain itself or the emotion within it.