Time Out New York

April 12, 2007
Lauren Cornell

A collaboration between artist A.L. Steiner and dance duo robbinschilds, C.L.U.E (color location ultimate experience) Part 1 is an 11-minute film that dramatizes the fragmented landscape of the United States. Steiner captures robbinschilds as the pair travels through a lush forest, a highway and a swimming pool, among other locales, and responds to each one with interpretative choreography that shifts in mood from awe and hilarity to utter abjection.

C.L.U.E. is an energizing experience. Set to a score by rock quartet Kinski and edited in succinct, animated sequences, it plays fast and tight, like a music video. Each sequence occurs in a separate outdoor setting and features robbinschilds in matching, rainbow- bright monochromatic outfits that emphasize the dancers' physical resemblance (both are blond, slender and close to the same height). In the gallery, the video projection is accompanied by an installation of road mementos, including the costumes and still photographs.

The journey is disjunctive: A scene of robbinschilds falling face-first, hapless and pathetic, onto the ground in an office parking lot lapses into a desert shot in which they perform with freewheeling abandon. Then the action cuts to a constrained dance performed in the back of a low-ceilinged van abandoned in a junkyard. In an artists' statement, the collaborators describe C.L.U.E. as "spiritual." And indeed, the fact that their locations are unpopulated by anyone other than robbinschilds (the exception is a nighttime scene projected in reverse) makes the duo's presence seem fantastic and--thanks in no small part to Steiner's gifts as a filmmaker--lends their movements an infectious, transformative grace.

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