CLD Awardees Rosslyn Wythes, Shaina and Bryan Baira share how Web-Monetization brought Hope During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Dance Films using Web-Monetization

The Creative Living for Dancers Award provided 1000€ to support the creation of four digital dance projects by Michigan and Belgium-based dancers while encouraging them to explore web-monetization technology. In a virtual interview, Creative Living for Dancers founder Briana Stuart interviewed awardees Rosslyn Wythes and Bryan and Shaina Baira about the vision behind their projects and their experience using web-monetization technology for the first time. Watch the full interview on Instagram and enter into the current giveaway to win a promo code to access to their projects on Cinnamon.video.

A Reflection on Canon, which was created by Belgium-based dancer and choreographer Rosslyn Wythes, ties the synchronous movements of canon dancing with cognitive scientist Douglas Hoftstader’s ideas of “strange loops” and “tangled hierarchies,” where organisms that self-reference take on a life of their own. The stimulating video pairs Rosslyn’s vivid choreography with video editing that creates a dynamic take on canon-style dancing. The screen’s frame, in itself, moves with her body, shrinking, shifting, and growing along with her movements and making for an intriguing show. 

Like many dancers, Rosslyn has always preferred the connection of an in-person experience over a virtual one. When the COVID-19 pandemic eliminated that option, she was still quite reluctant to artistically express herself online. “How can you see the restriction as an opportunity?” she asked herself. “How can you use the challenge to transform rather than to do nothing or to feel blocked?”

One of the greatest advantages of web-monetization technology is the fact that it opens the door for artists to be paid for the work they publish online. By eliminating algorithms, ads, and other superficial status benchmarks, artists are directly paid for every second a person views their content, no matter how many followers or views they have. This technology makes it easier than ever for dancers to make a living by sharing their work online.

“It’s a transforming space,” Rosslyn  said, after learning about web-monetization and exploring how the internet, as a platform, is changing. “How can you meet your artistic practice in that space that is transforming?” In her opinion, web-monetization helped create more purpose to sharing content online, creating more avenues for contributing to the online space other than just publishing content and adding to the internet’s oversaturation of content.

Awardees Bryan and Shaina Baira were also inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic to re-evaluate and renew their artistic expression. In their digital dance project, Coventry Street, the camera shoots from an surveillance-style angle, following the couple and their toddler, Kai, around their Michigan home during a day in quarantine. The experimental film creates subtle and positively gut-wrenching ties between the intimacy of quarantine life and the mental exhaustion and aggravation of everything that has transpired so far during the pandemic. 

Shaina and Bryan have been working together in dance for 8 years. When the first lockdown began, they were three weeks away from giving birth to Kai, and mainly focused on surviving. It wasn’t until the second lockdown when they felt more at ease and ready to create. That’s when they came across the Creative Living for Dancers Award. 

“It really stood out in that it was getting into web-monetization and getting into what we saw, and see now, as a potential new avenue forward of how we can not just hope and survive during this time, but how we can actually kind of re-shift the geometry of how we think about content and posting and sharing work,” said Shaina. 

“We all are experiencing something and if we can inspire our empathy through seeing engaging pieces of art then I think we’re doing our job,” added Bryan.

Bryan, Shaina, and Rosslyn all plan to continue using web-monetization technology not only for their own art and research, but also to financially support other artists. When visiting sites that use web-monetization, like Coil and Cinnamon, artists can view exclusive content shared by other creatives, supporting them financially simply by watching or reading their work. 

“It’s really nice to move through a website and know that you’re supporting people,” said Rosslyn. “Rather than competing for space, we share space.”

View the Creative Living for Dancers Awardees’ projects here!

—– Article written by Victoria Jones ——-

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