Alexander Whitley’s Overflow is a dance work created in 2019, with what might now seem like extraordinary prescience.
It’s about the way social media is changing our lives. It “explores how our desires and vulnerabilities are powerfully influenced by social platforms, and what lurks beneath our compulsions to check, share and like”.
And, as Whitley says, what has happened since early 2020 has only emphasised these things. He reckons that, “national lockdowns have resulted in a dramatic and irreversible paradigm shift, with the use of digital technology by citizens, organisations and businesses soaring globally.
“At the same time, we have been witnessing moral panic and extremist politics surge amongst an overabundance of information and disinformation circulating through these platforms, with a growing awareness of the impacts they are having on our thoughts, behaviour and actions in the world.”
How you put that into dance might not seem obvious, but all will be revealed at The Lowry in Salford when the Alexander Whitley Dance Company performs Overflow on March 22-23, on a tour that began in Birmingham and arrives via Saffron Walden, Poole and Aachen in Germany, and then goes to DanceCity in Newcastle.
Perhaps a clue lies in the rest of the description: “As unseen algorithms, surveillance technologies and feedback loops radically transform how we experience and act in the world, Overflow switches restlessly between intimate solos and expansive group sequences, holding da space of tension and hope…”
It's been described as visually dazzling and technologically ground-breaking, with a kinetic light sculpture by Children of the Light, and a score by electronic music producer Rival Consoles that has already been released as an album.