Francesca Beltran




In Choreomania, moving bodies break apart into kaleidoscopic rays of light as phantasmagoric shapes move across the paper and melt into abstraction. Ambiguous movements allow for endless associative possibilities: ecstasy or desperation, hysteria or meditation, absolute control or complete entropy, bound only by the frame of each photograph. Loneliness and togetherness permeate the images in equal parts reflecting on the isolating effects of our contemporary culture, in which these opposites constantly collide. Individuality becomes blurred and morphs into collectivity with a shared sense of disorder and anxiety. Interlaced by an allusive sensuality, a slow dance between oppositional forces arises, tying the individual bodies unequivocally together.

The Choreomania series address the dancing plagues that occurred primarily in Europe between 14th and 7th centuries. These social phenomenons are a case of mass hysteria also known as “mass psychogenic illness;” a type of diffused collective mass behavior that affects predominantly women and takes place in the presence of extraordinary fear and anxiety, often as a result of severe social and economic distress. Shot during Belligerent Eyes | 5K Confinement at Fondazione Prada in Venice, these images are the photographic result of a collaborative social experiment in which 50 participants danced for two hours in an increasingly confined space at Ca’Corner della Regina. The project was driven by the conviction that we must search with renewed urgency for new ways to be in common, and create the social through the acts of sharing spaces and situations. The experiment also resulted in a film, titled “no-body” that derived from an exploration on how live streams and data feeds modify our sense of time and space, as well as create authentic feelings of belonging and participation. Collectively we experience a crisis of togetherness.

First exhibited in BodiesNotApart, at GlogauAIR Berlin, 2017.