Olivia James is a senior at Elon University working towards a BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography as well as a minor in Theatre Arts. She is originally from Atlanta, Georgia, where she trained under Michael Garrison and Stacey Slitcher. At Elon, she has trained under Gerri Houlihan, Gaspard Louis, Renay Aumiller, Jen Guy Metcalf, Lauren Kearns, and Deb Leamy. She has performed works by Summation Dance, Lauren Kearns, Jen Guy Metcalf, Sara Tourek, and Anna Sokolow, the latter archived in the Library of Congress under the Sokolow Foundation. In addition to stage work, she has had her work featured in the 2019 Dancing in the Landscape production. In 2019, Olivia had the honor of being inducted into Delta Chi Xi, an honorary dance fraternity, as well as being awarded with the Sam White Theater Scholarship for her contributions and accomplishments at Elon.
Stars in our Teeth
Time is easily manipulated. Whether it is by our own minds or by objects more massive than we can image, our concept of time is constantly being challenged. According to Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, the gravity of massive bodies in space warps the spacetime surrounding them. This warping is demonstrated through gravitational time dilation, which measures the amount of time that has elapsed between two events by observers different distances from a gravitational mass. This happens on scales big and small and can be demonstrated by way of nanoseconds on Earth, but it is much more easily understood in the context of a super massive black hole.
While researching this, I found myself relating my experience in quarantine to this struggle between a never-ending darkness and the exorbitant speed of light. When traveling into a black hole, an observer would perceive their time passing normally. However looking out, time would be passing immeasurably fast. I found the thought of this to be terrifying, and a terrifyingly human experience. In a time when we are all so isolated from each other, unsure of what our futures will be, I look out to what the world will look like at the end of this experience to see a blur of endless possibilities. In the moment I feel that I am suspended at an event horizon, unable to move forward.
My work will demonstrate this concept through the use of photo and video projections, suspended movement, and gesture. My goal is to create an atmosphere that encapsulates the limboed feeling of floating in space and time, unable to be pulled one way or the other, that can so easily be accessed in this age of waiting for the world to heal and provide direction.