Water Motor, 1978

As the in-house photographer of the dancer and choreographer Trisha Brown, Babette Mangolte attended the rehearsals of Brown’s Water Motor in 1978, where she became convinced that the intensity with which the dancer performed her movements could not be sustained forever and should be recorded. In time, this choreography has come to be regarded as a key piece in Brown’s early repertoire. A pioneer of contemporary art, Brown draws from everyday gestures to create a continuous and fluid sequence of movements that, as the work’s title suggests, recalls both the flow of water and the intensity of a motorised engine. Mangolte’s recording of the piece explores the relationship between time and movement: the choreography is presented twice, once at normal speed and once in slow motion at less than 48 frames per second. The movement then takes another dimension, allowing us to perceive what remains imperceptible at normal speed.

Technical details

Original title:
Water Motor
Registration number:
Mangolte, Babette
Date created:
Date acquired:
MACBA Collection. MACBA Consortium
Object type:
Audiovisual recording
16 mm film transferred into video, b/w, silent, 7 min 24 s
Edition number:
Ed. 2/3 + 2 PA
MACBA Collection. MACBA Consortium
© Babette Mangolte
It has accessibility resources:

The MACBA Collection features Catalan, Spanish and international art and, although it includes works from the 1920s onwards, its primary focus is on the period between the 1960s and the present.

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